The Lisbon Derby always brings out the best of both these clubs. Sporting’s recent record at the Estádio da Luz should also give them some extra incentive to want to come out on top.
This meeting between Lisbon’s giants will involve a lot of passion, rivalry and love for the game. When Benfica and Sporting CP meet, it always means more than just a match, or even just the three points that are at stake. And on Sunday afternoon, both these sides will battle for the top spot in the Portuguese League.
Sunday’s match will be their 301st official meeting against each other.
Benfica has come come out on top on 131 occasions, while Sporting CP has won 110, and they have both played to a draw 59 times.
In recent years, Sporting CP has lost their last seven matches away to Benfica. Their latest defeat came in the Taça de Portugal, in one of the most epic matches these two clubs have every played.
Breaking that trend on Sunday will not be easy, especially with the visitors missing William Carvalho.
The young Portuguese international has been scouted by a number of big European clubs this season, but a yellow card in their last match forces him to sit this one out.
In his place will likely be Eric Dier, who has first team experience, and can play in a number of different positions. The 20-year-old born in Cheltenham, England has only played 448 minutes in the Portuguese League this season, but having already spent some years at the club, he will know the meaning of a Lisbon Derby.
Benfica will be trying to stop the league’s most potent offense. The Lions have 35 goals scored in league play, while Benfica have 32. At home, the hosts have only conceded five goals, and have two clean-sheets in their last two on their own turf.
One other piece of history going against the visitors is the fact that Leonardo Jardim has never defeated Jorge Jesus. From six official matches, Jesus has won four, and drew two. Could today be the day that Sporting ends both those negative streaks?
Meanwhile, Jardim will have made sure to warn his defenders of Oscar Cardozo. The Paraguay international is likely to start on the bench given he is returning from an injury, but he has enjoyed playing against Sporting CP.
With six goals in four matches, Jorge Jesus could choose to make the striker a late substitute, hoping for him to change the match if needed.
Watch Benfica vs Sporting CP live on Sunday, January 9, 2014:
In Canada at 13:00 ET on: Portuguese Football League
In the UK at 18:00 GMT on: BBC One
In the USA at 13:00 ET on: Benfica TV 1
Outside of these viewing areas? Be sure to visit the Benfica vs Sporting CP match page for full TV listings in your country.
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