Benfica will look to end a run of successive defeats in the Primeira Liga when they travel to Maritimo on Monday at 7 pm (UK time).
The Eagles were flying high under Jorge Jesus at the start of the campaign, winning seven straight games in all competitions, but since losing 3-0 to Boavista at the start of this month, they have endured back-to-back draws with Rangers in the Europa League and a 3-2 loss to Braga.
Domestically, they now find themselves fourth in the Primeira Liga table and seven points adrift early table-toppers Sporting, though with a game in hand. Having shipped six goals in the last two league games and suffered defeats in that time, Jesus will be desperate to get back to winning ways.
Maritimo, meanwhile, are struggling down in 14th and sit just two points outside the drop zone. Lito Vidigal’s side have only won two Primeira Liga matches this season, but one of those came against Porto, and the hosts will be hoping to pull off another giant-killing.
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Maritimo & Benfica’s previous line-ups:
- Maritimo (vs Penafiel): Charles; Winck, Hermes, Africo, Kerkez; Jean, Pelagio; Macedo, Tamuzo, Pinho, Tagueu
- Benfica (vs Rangers): Leite; Gilberto, Jardel, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Gabriel, Chiquinho, Everton, Rafa Silva; Seferovic, Waldschmidt.
Jean-Clair Todibo and Andre Almeida remain sidelined for Benfica through long-term injuries, while Pedrinho and Nuno Tavares are still struggling with foot and hip injuries, respectively. Julian Weigl and Darwin Nunez also remain out for the visitors.
Players to watch:
- Maritimo: There is only one reason Maritimo are not in the relegation zone at this present moment in time: Rodrigo Pinho. The Brazilian, born in Germany while his father Nando was representing Hamburg, has been a regular goal-getter for his side this season, netting eight goals in eight games, including a hat-trick in the Taca de Portugal against Penafiel, and a brace in the aforementioned win over Porto. Pinho has proven he can score against the big boys of Portugal, and the Greatest of the Islands will be hoping he can work his magic once again, only this time against Benfica.
- Benfica: The man who will be tasked with trying to keep Pinho quiet is former Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen. The experienced Belgian has slotted seamlessly into Jesus’ XI and will be desperate for his side to end a run of conceding at least two goals in seven of the last eight games. Benfica are blessed with plenty of quality going forward, but if they are to challenge on three fronts this term, including in the Europa League, then they will need to fix their porous backline, and Vertonghen’s experience should go a long way to solving that issue.
Primeira Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Maritimo: LDLLW
- Benfica: LLWWW
Scoreline prediction: Maritimo 1-2 Benfica
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