Benfica vs Sporting – Liga Sagres
September 19, 2010 ás 16:21
Pick: AH Sporting CP +0,5 @ 2.04 in Pinnacle / Result: (2-0)
Benfica has another tough game in this early season, and they know this hard part of the calendar is still not over, as they visit Madeira again next week to face Maritimo, where they lost in the second round to Nacional, and then they meet Sporting de Braga at home.
This couldn’t come in a worse time, because Benfica as everybody knows lost 3 games in the first 4 rounds, and has only 3 points, with the last defeat being in the last round, in Guimarães, a game that lead to hard critics by Benfica to the referees, making a public announcement, putting much pressure in this derby’s referee. Although I agree that Benfica was penalised by the referee, the truth is I didn’t see Benfica make more than 2 or 3 good plays, football plays, has they did last year. Midweek came fresh air for the reds, as they beated Hapoel 2-0 for the Champions League opener. Although it was a fair win, again Benfica was far from brilliant, using accuracy and a free kick to their advantage. It wasn’t a great game by the reds, neither it was even a good game.
In this game, Jesus has the return of Kardec, while Salvio remains sidelined.
Sporting has 7 points with 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat. When the team seemed like back on tracks, last week they failed again with just a goaless draw as they played Olhanense at home, in a game where they had bad luck with balls hitting the bars, but also good luck has Olhanense saw a goal being poorly void. Midweek they faced Lille away in a Liga Europa game, and Paulo Sergio presented a very changed starting eleven, as they won the game by 2-1, with Postiga returning to the goals.
As announced, Maniche returns for this game while Izmailov, Pedro Mendes and Grimi remain sidelined, they haven’t played this year so far.
The Lisbon Derby is always a game that can end the three ways, and there’s no sure bet. However, looking at the pros and cons, I believe that Benfica’s biggest advantage is to play at home, and even that, if the developments start going wrong for their side, it can be a disadvantage. From what I’ve seen this season, and without thinking Sporting is brilliant, I think the lions are clearly better than the eagles, getting more and better from their game, more solid and with players in a better form, and growing. Benfica has the return of Kardec, but he is probably without the ideal rythm especially for a game of this intensity, and he may not be a good option, and Benfica will probably continue with damaged wings. On the other side, Sporting has minus 48 hours of rest and preparation than Benfica, but also Paulo Sergio made savings that Jesus didn’t, resting key players.
Still, looking only at the game and how it’s played, I think Sporting is the favorite, with another fact helping as Benfica and Roberto are somewhat weak in the defensive free kicks. With all the constraints, I think it’s a 50-50 game, with slight tendence for Sporting. With these odds, and a double chance like these, I think there’s great value in the greens today, so this is my bet