0 - 2
Jan 21, 201315:00 Live
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Stadium: Parque Desportivo Comendador Joaquim de Almeida Freitas (Moreira de Cónegos)
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Moreirense is in a serious relegation battle with just eight points in 14 matches played. Their only victory came in the second week of the current campaign at home against Nacional where they won 3-1. Since that first win, Jorge Casquilha's side has struggled to come across points, let alone consistency in their play.
Lack of scoring and their inability to keep opponents off the score-sheet is just one of the hosts issues. With 14 goals scored in the domestic league, Moreirense is averaging one goal a match. Unfortunately for them, they have conceded 25 goals which is almost an average of two goals against a match.
What will give Casquilha's side some confidence ahead of their match on Monday will be the fact that they drew against Benfica in their last match in Moreira de Conegos.
With limited players to choose from, Casquilha believes his side will need to be confident and have courage against Benfica.
"When we play stronger sides we need a lot of courage. We are well aware of that and that is the reason we never shy away," said Casquilha.
"Benfica is the favorite, but we continue to have our chances."
Despite being favorites, the visitors will need to make sure they do not overlook their opponent. The last time they met, Benfica looked a shadow of themselves and if not for a late fortunate call, Jorge Jesus' side may well have been defeated by Moreirense.
The Lisbon side enjoyed an important victory mid-week in Coimbra against an Academica side that had given them some trouble just a few weeks ago.
An impressive offensive performance from Lima and his teammates sent Benfica through to the semi-finals of the Portuguese Cup.
A victory from their rival Porto on Saturday will put some added pressure on the Aguias and Jorge Jesus is well aware of that.
"Benfica needs to play to win. If they want to be leaders, they can not afford to lose points," said the Benfica manager.
"Porto's victory does not worry us because even if they had lost, we would need to win."
12-30-12 Moreirense 1-1 Benfica (League Cup)
11-16-12 Moreirense 0-2 Benfica (Portuguese Cup)
02-27-08 Benfica 2-0 Moreirense (Portuguese Cup)
01-29-05 Moreirense 1-2 Benfica
09-11-04 Benfica 2-0 Moreirense
02-29-04 Benfica 1-1 Moreirense
Considering how much Moreirense struggles to keep a cleansheet, Benfica should not struggle to score if they feature a strong starting XI.
The hosts are coming off a 5-0 defeat against V. Setubal, something that will not give Moreirense any added confidence.
Every team Moreirense has gone up against in the domestic league has managed to score at least one goal against them. With Benfica coming to town, Moreirense could really be in serious trouble, especially since Casquilha only has 16 players available for the match.
If Benfica can reproduce their mid-week performance against Academica, they should be able to put this match away well before the 90th minute.
Going by their last match when they drew 1-1, Benfica could struggle to break down the hosts at first, but with a fully healthy squad and their best options in the starting XI, the Lisbon side should be expected to score at least two goals on Monday.
Given their current form, Moreirense knows they will be up against a serious challenge. Full of confidence after eliminating Academica, Lima and his teammates will be ready to go in this match.
It is very hard not to see Benfica coming out on top in this match, but anything is possible. The best way for Moreirense to eliminate Benfica from the match will be to foul often to break up their fast paced style of play.
If they are unable to win the midfield battle which will be very tough, Moreirense could be in for a long 90 minutes.
Moreirense 0-3 Benfica