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Sporting LisbonSporting Lisbon
Goncalves (48', 64'), Paulinho (74')
Palhinha (59')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Samuel Amorim Silva (13'), Kouao (30'), Silva (90+2')

Preview: Sporting Lisbon vs. Vizela - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Sporting Lisbon vs. Vizela - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's Primeira Liga clash between Sporting Lisbon and Vizela, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Sporting Lisbon will begin their defence of the Portuguese Primeira Liga title on Friday, when they take on newly-promoted Vizela in the league opener.

Os Leoes cruised through last campaign, topping the league since the beginning of November, while their opponents made a late surge to finish second in the Segunda Liga and earn promotion as a result.

Match preview

In his first full season in senior management last year, Ruben Amorim led Sporting Lisbon into the campaign with the hopes of breaking their 18-year wait for a top-flight title.

A 4-0 thrashing of Tondela in their sixth game of the season saw Os Leoes move to the summit of the division, and they would not relinquish that position for the rest of the campaign, instead moving further away from the chasing pack.

With the title already sealed and just two games left to play, Amorim's side looked set to end the league season unbeaten, only for those hopes to be snuffed out as they lost 4-3 to Benfica in the Lisbon Derby, despite a Pedro Goncalves brace and a Nuno Santos goal reducing the deficit from four goals to one.

While they will have been slightly disappointed not to have achieved that feat, Os Leoes did still comfortably secure the title, adding a 19th Primeira Liga title to their record after a drought since they last won the league in 2002.

Having also triumphed in the Taca da Liga, the Lisbon outfit collected two pieces of silverware last season, and they started this campaign with another trophy, as they defeated Braga in the Portuguese Super Cup.

The Taca de Portugal winners took the lead through Fransergio in the 20th minute, but Jovane Cabral quickly drew Sporting level before Pedro Goncalves hit the winning goal on the stroke of half time, seeing out a 2-1 victory in their first competitive game of the new season.

That should fill Amorim's men with plenty of confidence as they go in search of their second straight Primeira Liga title this year, with a good start to the league season vital if they are to claim top spot again.

Their opponents will certainly not lie down for the defending champions, though, as Vizela look to impress upon their promotion to the Portuguese top flight.

Following a mixed start to the season, Friday's visitors sat in eighth spot in the Portuguese second tier after 14 games last campaign, with two straight victories moving them into the top half.

Alvaro Pacheco's side would then find much more consistency, quickly firing themselves up to fourth spot and holding that position until March.

With nine games to go, Vizela remained in fourth place, just outside of the promotion spots, but an excellent run in the final straight saw them collect 21 points from those matches and eventually finish in second spot.

Their preparations for the upcoming top-flight campaign did not go to plan though, as they lost four friendlies against top-flight opposition and drew the only other game with Estoril Praia, before being dumped out of the Taca da Liga by second-tier outfit Estrela Amadora.

Xavier Fernandes put their opponents ahead, but Cassiano would equalise soon after the hour mark and the game looked set to end level and go to a penalty shootout, only for Paulinho to net the winner in the 89th minute to knock Vizela out.

They now head into the league campaign with the ultimate aim of avoiding the drop, although they have arguably the toughest possible start with a trip to the Estadio Jose Alvalade to take on the defending champions.

Sporting Lisbon form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W

Vizela form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Team News

Sporting Lisbon's starting XI in the Super Cup clash with Braga should give a good indication of Amorim's plans for the season regarding his best side, with very limited changes from the team that played in the majority of games last campaign.

The only major loss from last season's squad is midfielder Joao Mario, who spent a season in the Portuguese capital on loan.

That could leave minutes alongside Joao Palhinha in midfield up for grabs, with the likes of Matheus Nunes and Daniel Braganca battling for a starting spot.

January signing Paulinho should lead the line with the support of Pedro Goncalves, who played a key role in the title win last season with 23 goals and four assists from 32 Primeira Liga appearances.

Jovane Cabral also boosted his bid for a regular place in the front three with a goal in the Super Cup win over Braga, after he finished last season in style on the left-hand side.

The Vizela line will be led by Brazilian forward Cassiano, who opened his account for the season with a goal in the Taca da Liga defeat last time out after hitting 17 league goals last campaign to help his side to promotion.

Ivo Goncalves should continue to line up between the sticks, and the 37-year-old will offer some vital experience in the camp as they aim to avoid the drop.

Pacheco has added plenty of players to his ranks this summer to prepare for the season, with the likes of attacker Guilherme Schettine and centre-back Bruno Wilson arriving from Braga and exciting midfielder Alex Mendez joining from Ajax.

However, they will likely stick with the core of players that won promotion last season, with the young additions complementing the established stars rather than replacing them.

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Adan; Inacio, Coates, Feddal; Esgaio, Palhinha, Nunes, Mendes; Goncalves, Paulinho, Cabral

Vizela possible starting lineup:
Goncalves; Ofori, Aidara, Wilson, Kiki; Moreira, Samu, Paulo, Mendez, Bondoso; Cassiano

We say: Sporting Lisbon 3-0 Vizela

Vizela have a particularly unenviable start to life back in the top flight, and we see the defending champions brushing the newly-promoted outfit aside as they look to kick into gear and establish themselves at the top end of the table.

With a similar squad to last season, we expect Os Leoes to excel defensively once again, while possessing the ability to punish Vizela going forward.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting that at least one team will not score (BTTS - no) in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.BTTS No:data

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