Three negative results in all competitions has Benfica on the verge of throwing away a second title in a week. With one point separating them from the top spot in the Portuguese League, the Águias will not only need to win their match, but they will also need a positive result at the Mata Real Stadium.
Needing the full three points at home against Moreirense is a given for the Benfica players, but what is not a given is the actual victory.
The last two league matches for the Lisbon side have not been all that impressive, although the final result may not tell the full story of the match.
Despite a last ditch goal at the Estádio do Dragão from Porto's Kelvin, Benfica fans thought they had seen it all. How much worst could it really get? After Wednesday's match in Amsterdam, things got much worst for the Lisbon giants.
Taking a look back at their season, Jorge Jesus looked destined to claim at least one title, if not maybe two, but after their last two matches, even their Taça de Portugal match against Guimarães does not look promising.
Fans will ask how it is possible to concede two decisive goals in the final minute of a match, and while there is not a specific answer to that question, lack of experience and focus may well have been a main contributor.
Paços de Ferreira fans have enjoyed the most successful season in their club's history. On Sunday, a week after claiming a spot in the qualification round of the Champions League next season, Paços will get a chance to spoil the anticipated title party for Porto.
A last minute victory over Benfica on Saturday will not only have the Porto players full of confidence, but they now only depend on themselves to reclaim the title. Is Vítor Pereira's side going to be able to handle the euphoria heading into the Mata Real, or will this season's surprise team make things interesting?
We will take a look at their previous meetings and any potential patterns that could have any influence on the match come Sunday afternoon.
Just when everything seemed to be heading in the right direction for Jorge Jesus and his side, it now appears ready to fall apart right before his eyes. Could Benfica potentially lose out on two of the three titles they are chasing within a week?
A hard fought victory over Maritimo had Benfica well on their way to winning a 33rd league title. The players came together in the middle of the pitch at the Estádio dos Barreiros to celebrate what many believed to be a crucial match for the Lisbon side. Little did they know that things were about to get really interesting.
Their match at home against Estoril was by no means a guaranteed victory, but having kept their lead at four points over Porto, it was extremely difficult to imagine Benfica dropping points at home, with just three matches remaining.
Miami Beach, Florida (May 10, 2013) – All eight matches from the Portuguese Primeira Liga are scheduled to take place on Saturday May 11, 2013. One fixture, in particular, will captivate the public: Porto vs Benfica
It is Portugal’s very own version of El Clasico in Spain, called 'O Classico'. Millions of football fans around the globe are looking to catch every second of this weekend’s match. LiveSoccerTV.com (@LiveSoccerTV) can feed you with info on where to watch Porto vs Benfica live at 15:30 EST / 19:30 GMT / 21:30 CET on Saturday.
Since Monday’s 1-1 draw at home to Estoril, the Portuguese Primeira Liga title is not Benfica’s to lose anymore. The Lisbon-based giants are indeed above any other team on the league table. However, the two-point gap between the first and second spots means that the Dragons of Porto can bring down the flying Eagles of Benfica this Saturday.
As a fan, what more could you ask for than the possibility of being able to claim the league title against your rival? While it may sound appealing and exciting, it could also end up being a complete disappointment. On Saturday, Benfica and Porto will both be out to give their fans something to smile about, as they will go head to head in what will be the title match.
Playing in their 79th league meeting in the city of Porto, the visitors do not have the greatest record on their rivals home ground, but all of that will not matter, given the circumstances.
From their 78 meetings in the league, Benfica has only managed to defeat Porto at the Estádio do Dragão or Estádio das Antas on 12 occasions. That is approximately 15% of their league meetings. As for the hosts, they have managed an incredible 47 victories, amounting to approximately 60%, with the other 19 matches ending in a draw.
A promising four point lead at the top of the Portuguese League had Benfica fans and their players feeling extremely confident. All of that confidence has quickly turned into some doubt after a heroic performance from Estoril on Monday night, which earned them a one goal draw at the Estádio da Luz.
Now, Benfica needs to regroup and put together one of their most important performances of the whole season.
Facing humiliation should be more than enough to get the players prepared for this match from a mental perspective. But, if that will not do it, then maybe the fact that they have a chance to claim the Portuguese title at their rivals stadium will do the trick.
Being able to get revenge after the Porto players celebrated in Lisbon just two years ago would be ideal for the Benfica players and fans, but in order to that, the visitors will need a special performance from everyone involved.
With pride, bragging rights and the Portuguese League title on the line, Saturday's match should bring out the best in all of its participants. No player on that pitch should have any reason to not be motivated and ready to go when the first whistle is blown.
Keeping their emotions in check will be slightly difficult for some, but all the world class players are used to this pressure and these types of matches. Porto will be playing to not only take a massive step towards reclaiming the Portuguese title, but they will also not want to watch Benfica celebrate the Portuguese title at their stadium.
Who will give Porto that edge in Saturday's match?
"We are in first place, and we are going to Porto and will be champions." These are the words of Benfica's Maxi Pereira, who showed his confidence after Benfica failed to defeat Estoril at the Estádio da Luz on Monday night. If drawing against Estoril at home was not bad enough, the Águias will now play at the Estádio do Dragão on Saturday with a slim two point lead.
Even if Benfica went into this match with a four point lead, this rivalry is much more than just a title match. Neither team wants to lose to their biggest rival, especially when they both have the possibility of claiming a domestic title.
I'm not exactly sure anyone could have scripted this finish any better.
The tension has been building in the Portuguese League for quite some time, but Benfica has done a good job to deal with it all in the right ways. A lead over their rivals in the domestic league already had their confidence sky high, but after their mid-week match against Fenerbahce, the Lisbon side will be even more focused.
A 3-1 victory over Fenerbahce put Jorge Jesus' side in the Europa League Final, somewhere the Aguias have not managed to be for 23 years. With that objective already checked off their list, Benfica now needs six points to guarantee a 33rd Portuguese League title.
On Monday night, 65,000 Benfica fans will fill the Estadio da Luz to show their support. After witnessing the atmosphere in the stadium on Thursday, Monday's match will certainly provide yet another day to remember.
With each remaining match comes its own pressure, nerves and game plan. For Benfica, the game plan has been the same all season -- reclaim the Portuguese League title. Up until now, they have done their part, but with four matches remaining and a one point lead over Porto with a game in hand, Jorge Jesus' side can not afford a slip up this late in the campaign.
The added pressure of knowing Porto won their match on Saturday will be nothing new for Benfica, but knowing that this could be the match of the season for the hosts will help to make things slightly more difficult.
For a Benfica fan, it almost seems as if every opponent's match of the season comes against them, but regardless of all of that, the Aguias need to focus on their objectives and not worry about everything else.
Anticipation, excitement and even nerves will be just a few of the different emotions involved with this high profile match. The Estadio da Luz will host yet another Lisbon Derby, but just like in 2005 when Luisao out jumped Ricardo to grab a victory for Benfica, the Aguias could take another big step towards claiming the title.
Winners of the last five meetings between these two sides at the Estadio da Luz, the hosts will know how important it will be to make it six in a row.
A four point difference gives Benfica a slight advantage over second placed Porto. Keeping that four point lead is absolutely vital for Jorge Jesus' side, knowing that they will still travel to Porto later in the season.
Vitor Pereira's side is still chasing Benfica in the top spot of the Portuguese League, making their four point deficit even more difficult to overcome. But, regardless of how many matches remain, the Porto players will know that their is still a lot at stake, and anything is possible.
Getting one step closer to making up ground will have to start on Saturday night when Porto travels to Moreira de Conegos to take on Moreirense.
The hosts are 15th in the Portuguese League with just 21 points, but at this stage of the campaign, they too can not afford to lose points as they are currently sitting in the relegation zone. With both sides very interested in the full three points for different reasons, this match could be more interesting to watch than some would expect.
It has been a long 11 years for Sporting since they last tasted glory in the Portuguese League. Adding to those frustrations, the Leoes haven't won a piece of silverware since the 2007/08 campaign, when they claimed the Portuguese Cup along with the Portuguese Supercup.
Since then, it has been a long and extremely emotional ride for the Sporting fans. A number of players have since left the club, with a significant number of players having joined the Lisbon side.
On Sunday night, all of the past, present and future means nothing for 90 minutes. Taking the field against same city rivals Benfica, Sporting only has their pride to play for.
Jorge Jesus' side has enjoyed great success this season up until this point, but all of that can quickly come undone in a matter of a few matches.
Monday night, the Portuguese League leader's will welcome Pacos de Ferreira to the Estadio da Luz for the second leg of the Portuguese Cup. A two goal lead will have Benfica fans confident of booking their place at the Estadio do Jamor, but Pacos de Ferreira will not go down easily.
Needing to score three goals without conceding, Paulo Fonseca knows that the chances of his side eliminating Benfica will not be easy, but they are fully confident that anything can happen.
"The chances of us winning at the Estadio da Luz are very slim, although we all believe that we can do it," Fonseca told reporters.
"At home, Benfica has performed very well along with their positive results. We are at a disadvantage but we are no going to give up. We want to continue to leave a good impression, without losing our identity."
Going into every season, Porto and Benfica are without a doubt title contenders before they even set foot on the pitch for their first official match. From the mass amounts of support off the pitch, to the well known players they are able to bring into the squad, these two Portuguese giants are not only battling it out now, but they have done so for years.
The Lisbon side still holds the record number of Portuguese League titles with 32, but during the Pinto da Costa regime, Porto has done a good job in closing the gap. 26 league titles for the Dragoes may seem dull compared to Benfica's 32, but make no mistake about it, Porto has very well dominated the domestic league for quite sometime.
The last time Benfica won a piece of European silverware was on May 2, 1962, when they defeated Puskas and his Real Madrid side 5-3 in Amsterdam for the European Cup. With the final of this season's Europa League set for the Amsterdam Arena, the Portuguese side feels it could be their time to shine in Europe once again.
Getting to the final is still a ways away, making Newcastle United their primary concern. The Magpies have not been able to enjoy themselves in the domestic campaign as they did so last season. Alan Pardew's side find themselves 15th in the Premier League, just three points above the relegation zone. Just for the sake of comparison, Newcastle finished fifth last season, giving them the opportunity to participate in the Europa League.
Since taking over as the Porto manager with the departure of Andre Villas-Boas, Vitor Pereira has claimed three pieces of silverware for the Dragoes. Two Portuguese Supercup's and the league title last season, but having dropped two more points against Maritimo last night, it looks as if Porto fans have had it with the Portuguese manager.
In his first stint at the top level in Portugal, one would have to agree that he has not done all that bad. His first season in charge at the Estadio do Dragao was welcomed by the Portuguese League title, so it is difficult to understand such frustration at times from the Porto fans.
Last season he won the Portuguese title with a six point cushion over Benfica, having won 23 matches, drawn six and losing only one. This season he has 17 victories, six draws and zero losses with seven matches remaining, so he could well match his numbers from last season, so why all the panic?
For years and years, Benfica fans go into every new season hoping to come out on top, but unfortunately, that has not happened all that often in recent times. With just seven matches remaining, the Aguias have a four point lead, but cannot get too complacent.
With Benfica and Porto battling it out for the top spot since the first weeks of the 2012/13 campaign, the current Portuguese Champions have had two slip-ups in recent weeks, allowing Benfica to distance themselves.
Although their lead is at four, should Benfica fans be all that confident that the title is within reaching distance?
A 1-0 victory at home over Malaga had Porto well on their way to the next round in the Champions League, but unfortunately for Vitor Pereira's side, everything came undone in the return leg. Poor play and a red card for Belgian midfielder Defour helped the Spanish side progress with a 2-0 victory.
With that match behind them, Porto will now need to focus on Maritimo, who has proven to be a tough team to play at the Estadio dos Barreiros.
You have to go all the way back to October 28th, when Braga defeated Pedro Martins' side at home. Since then, the Madeirenses have three wins and four draws in their home stadium for the domestic league. Their last match, which happened to be away to Braga, ended a streak of four matches where they had won three out of four.