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Jan 26, 2022 at 7.45pm UK
Sporting Lisbon
2 - 1
Santa Clara
Villanueva (40' og.), Sarabia (65' pen.)
Esgaio (23'), Esteves (90+8')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Lincoln (32')
Carvalho (24'), Crysan (34'), Henrique (90+8')
Costa (63')

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

:Headline: Preview: Sporting Lisbon vs. Santa Clara - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Taca da Liga clash between Sporting Lisbon and Santa Clara, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Fresh off the back of losing to Braga in the Primeira Liga, Sporting Lisbon take on Santa Clara at the Estadio Jose Alvalade for a place in the Taca da Liga final on Wednesday.

The visitors ended their six-game losing streak against the Leoes in the most recent meeting between the sides and will be hoping for a repeat of that result.

Match preview

Taca da Liga reigning champions Sporting Lisbon were sent crashing back to earth in the Primeira Liga last Saturday when they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Braga on home turf.

After falling behind to Pedro Goncalves's second-minute opener, Carlos Carvalhal's men rallied in the second half as Wenderson Galeno restored parity from the spot seven minutes after the interval before Jean-Baptiste Gorby turned the tie on its head in the 97th minute.

Prior to that, the Leoes suffered their first league defeat when they were beaten 3-2 by a resilient Santa Clara side on January 7, before claiming successive victories over Leca in the Taca de Portugal and Arouca respectively.

Ruben Amorim's men now turn their attention to Taca da Liga, where they opened their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Famalicao on October 26 before seeing off a dogged Penafiel side 1-0 to clinch top spot in Group B and secure qualification to the knockout stages.

Meanwhile, after edging out Farense in the qualifiers back in August, Santa Clara got their Taca da Liga run underway with a 2-2 draw with Rio Ave before stunning Porto to a 3-1 victory in their final group game.

In a thrilling contest at the Estadio de Sao Miguel, Mehdi Taremi pulled one back for the Dragoes after Andrei Chindris and Ricardinho put the hosts ahead, but Nene scored the 96th minute to cap off a sensational team performance and send Os Acoreanos through to the semi-finals.

Santa Clara head into Wednesday's game fresh off the back of a 2-0 victory over 10-man Moreirense in the Primeira Liga courtesy of goals in either half from Ricardinho and Mohammad Mohebi.

Mario Silva's men are unbeaten in each of their most recent three league outings — their longest run without a defeat in the Primeira Liga this season — picking up two wins and one draw, while scoring seven goals in that time.

While they will look to keep this fine form going and make it to the cup final, next up is the daunting task of going up against an opposing side who have won six of the last seven meetings between the teams since 2018.

Sporting Lisbon Taca da Liga form:
  • W
  • W

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

Santa Clara Taca da Liga form:
  • D
  • D
  • W

Santa Clara form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W

Team News

With Sporting Lisbon now in the business end of the Taca da Liga, we expect Amorim to name his strongest XI on Wednesday, meaning we could see the trio of Pedro Goncalves, Pablo Sarabia and Paulinho in attack.

After spending two months on the sidelines through a muscle problem, Jovane Cabral made his return to the fold against Braga last time out and we expect to see the 23-year-old forward on the Sporting Lisbon team sheet on Wednesday.

However, Geny Catamo is set to sit out his fifth consecutive game as the 20-year-old Mozambican continues his spell in isolation after recently testing positive for COVID-19.

Santa Clara, on the other hand, will have to make do without Brazilian forward Crysan, who was forced off the pitch in the 76th minute against Moreirense last time out through injury.

His replacement Mohebi found the target nine minutes after coming on and the 23-year-old could be rewarded with his first starting appearance since joining the club last summer.

Costinha is another name on the injury table after the 29-year-old picked up an Achilles tendon injury back in August's game against Moreirense.

Ricardinho has been on song for Santa Clara in recent weeks, scoring in each of their last three outings, and we expect the 23-year-old to lead the attack once again.

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Adan; Coates, Inacio, Reis; Esgaio, Palhinha, Santos, Nunes; Goncalves, Sarabia, Paulinho

Santa Clara possible starting lineup:
Pereira; Tassano, Villanueva, Boateng, Mansur; Carvalho, Morita; Mohebi, Lincoln, Ricardinho; Costa

We say: Sporting Lisbon 2-0 Santa Clara

Santa Clara will head into the game with renewed confidence after returning to winning ways last time out. However, Sporting Lisbon have been utterly dominant in the history of this fixture and we predict they will extend their dominance and come away with the win in normal time.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data

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Primeira Liga Table
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5Gil Vicente34131294742551
6Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes34139125041948
7Santa ClaraSanta Clara34913123854-1640
9Estoril PraiaEstoril34912133643-739
13Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira34911142944-1538
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