A hostile environment awaits Benfica at the Estádio do Dragão this evening in what should be a highly disputed match. It's fair to say that both these clubs dislike eachother, and when they meet, fans are not only looking for three points, but they are also looking for something to brag about come Monday morning.
Domestically, only three points separates the two long time rivals in the league table, with Benfica topping the list with 31 points. Knowing that a victory today could put them level at the top, Lopetegui's side will be motivated to send their rivals home with zero points.
"Obviously this is a world-class classico, between two great clubes, in a match that will involve a lot of passion," Lopetegui told reporters when speaking about today's match.
"Three points are at stake, but the reprecussions of the result are more important. We want to compete and win the match."
If history has anything to do with the result, the hosts will have a good chance of coming out victorious.
The last time Benfica came away with a league victory in their travels to Porto was in 2005, with two goals from Nuno Gomes in a 0-2 victory. Since then, Porto has won six and drawn two in league play.
Portugal's best defensive unit will be put to the test against a Benfica side that has the most goals scored in the league.
Unfortunately for the águias, they weren't able to reproduce their form in the Champions League, crashing out of the group stage in last place. Many football analysts believe that an early exit from Europe could give Porto a psycological advantage, but when it comes to a classico, current form generally goes out the window.
"It is not the most important match of the season," said Jorge Jesus when asked if a victory for his side could increase Benfica's chances of claiming a second consecutive league title, something they haven't done in over 20 years.
"Clearly a classico generates more interest than any other match, but it's not worth more than three points. They are two great clubs, with world-class players."
Having rested most of his starters mid-week against Bayer Leverkusen, Jorge Jesus will expect his players to put in a top notch effort today.
Enzo Perez will need to be the motor in the midfield, with Andreas Samaris likely to lineup behind him in a more defensive role. The main focal point for the hosts could be Brahimi, a player who has explosive pace and has the ability to put the ball in the back of the net.
Lopetegui will get his first glimpse of a classico, and he will want to continue the trend of not allowing Benfica to win at the Dragão in the league.
Porto v. Benfica team sheets
Porto First XI: Fabiano, Danil, Martins Indi, Marcano Sierra, Alex Sandro, Herrera, Casemiro, Oliver, Tello, Martinez, Brahimi
Benfica First XI: Julio Cesar, Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Jadel, Almeida, Samaris, Perez, Salvio, Souza Conceicao, Gaitan, Lima
Porto Bench: Maicon, Quaresma, Quintero, Reyes, Goebel, Fernandez, Aboubakar
Benfica Bench: Artur Moraes, Dias Marinho, John, Goncalves Oliveira, Afonso Fernandes, Benito, Henrique Martins
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