Sporting face Lisbon rivals Benfica in a crucial Primeira Liga fixture on Sunday
Sporting entertain Benfica at the Estádio José Alvalade in yet another edition of the Derby de Lisboa on Sunday.
This Primeira Liga fixture holds significance for the hosts as they trail Porto by six points in the standings. With five games to go, they can only hope to defend their title if they win all of their remaining fixtures.
Benfica have been effectively ruled out of the title race but can spoil the party for the hosts here. Nothing will give the visitors more joy than denying their arch-rivals the three points in this crucial top-of-the-table clash.
Sporting have been in good touch though and made it five wins in a row as they defeated Tondela 3-1 last time around. Benfica returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win against B-SAD last time around and played out a thrilling 3-3 draw against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg fixture on Thursday.
They were eliminated 6-4 on aggregate but will head into the game with their heads held high.
Sporting vs Benfica Head-to-Head
The two Lisbon giants have locked horns 313 times in competitive fixtures since their first meeting in 1907. Benfica have 136 wins to their name, while the hosts trail them, having recorded 112 wins in this fixture.
The two sides have shared the spoils on 65 occasions. This will be the third meeting between the two sides this season. Leões secured a win in both the games with the last one coming in the Taca de Liga final. They came from behind to secure a 2-1 win.
Sporting form guide (all competitions): W-W-W-W-D
Benfica form guide (all competitions): D-W-L-L-W
Sporting vs Benfica Team News
Zouhair Feddal was the only absentee from training ahead of the derby with fitness issues. Matheus Reis is suspended following his fifth yellow card of the campaign.
Injuries: Zouhair Feddal
Suspensions: Matheus Reis
Lucas Verissimo and Rodrigo Pinho are the two long-term absentees for As Águias. Rafa Silva has not trained with the club this week and is not expected to start here.
Injured: Lucas Verissimo, Rodrigo Pinho, Rafa Silva
Sporting vs Benfica Predicted XI
Sporting CP Predicted XI (3-4-2-1): Antonio Adan (GK); Goncalo Inacio, Sebastian Coates, Luís Neto; Pedro Porro, Daniel Braganca, Manuel Ugarte, Ruben Vinagre; Pablo Sarabia, Pedro Gonçalves; Islam Slimani
Benfica Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Odysseas Vlachodimos (GK); André Almeida, Nicolas Otamendi, Jan Vertonghen, Alex Grimaldo; Julian Weigl, Soualiho Meite; João Mário, Roman Yaremchuk, Everton; Darwin Nunez
Sporting vs Benfica Prediction
Benfica have outscored every other side in the competition with 73 goals while the hosts have the best defensive record in the league, conceding just 18 goals. So it will be a battle between the attacking prowess and defensive solidity of the two rivals.
Darwin Nunez is in red-hot form and stopping him should be the main goal for the hosts. The hosts have scored at least two goals in their last five league outings, keeping three clean sheets in that period, but a clean sheet here seems unlikely.
We expect the game to see over 2.5 goals and, given their home advantage, we expect Sporting to come out on top.
Prediction: Sporting 3-2 Benfica