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Porto vs Benfica live on Dec. 30, 2021: O Clássico closes the curtain on 2021 in the Primeira League

December 30, 2021 By Ali M.
The Eagles return to action just days after parting ways with iconic manager Jorge Jesus, taking on Porto for the second time in seven days.


The final game in 2021 of the Primeira Liga season could not have been any better! Matchday 16 in the Portuguese top-flight wraps up today, with the curtain closer being the beloved O Clássico, with the nation's two biggest and most historic teams, Porto and Benfica, set to battle it out just days before the turn of the calendar year.

Interestingly, these two Portuguese powerhouses squared off not too long ago. To be precise, they met exactly a week prior to Thursday's scheduled showdown, having faced off on December 23 in the Taca de Portugal round of 16. That game did not go down well for Benfica, with the Eagles losing 3-0 and bowing out of the tournament.

In fact, not a lot has gone well at the Estádio da Luz recently. Benfica are seven points behind in the title race, with Sporting CP currently topping the table, but the third-placed side do have a game in hand over their Lisbon rival. Furthermore, the Eagles are through to the UEFA Champions League knockout stage, beating out Barcelona to a spot in the round of 16 where they will face Ajax.

However, two devastating results in December sparked a drastic decision from the club's board. The first was the 3-0 loss to Porto in the domestic cup while the other was the 3-1 defeat against Sporting CP in the league earlier this month. Frustration had been brewing at the club, resulting in the decision to part ways with Jorge Jesus on Tuesday.

The revered manager's departure was by mutual consent, according to the club, but it is an interesting one nonetheless given his achievements. Nélson Veríssimo, who was the predecesor's assistant coach, will take up the helm until the end of the season and will thus be in charge for O Clássico.

Will the interim boss pull off a surprise win? The odds are unlikely given how rampant Porto have been this term, with the Dragons having won their last 10 league games in succession in the build-up to this highly-anticipated affair.

The hosts have been nothing short of exceptional this season. Sporting CP, who temporarily sit ahead of them in the table, have played a game extra, meaning Porto simply need to win on Thursday to return to the summit. Sergio Conceicao's side are one of only two clubs yet to lose a game this season, the other being the Lions, and are thus the favorites to triumph.

The home side simply need to look to their first half display against Benfica last week for inspiration, with the Dragons marching to a 3-0 lead inside the opening half-an-hour. Both teams were reduced to 10, meaning discipline is an area in need of improvement, but with Porto boasting the second-best attack and defense in the league, Pepe and Co. should be confident of pulling off a win.

Team news

Porto: The home side have a few worrying absentees, the biggest being Luis Diaz, with the highly-rated South American set to miss this tie after contracting COVID-19. However, that's not all as Evanilson, who played a key role in the 3-0 cup win over Benfica, also misses out due to suspension. Marko Grujic is also out for this fixture while Marcano is yet to return from injury.

Benfica: Darwin Nunez will not take part in this clash, which is a huge blow for the visitors. Furthermore, the Eagles are also without Lucas Verissimo and Rodrigo Pinho who are both on the sidelines.

Key stats

  • Porto haven't lost a single game in any of their last 43 league outings.

  • The Dragons have kept a clean sheet in all of their last three games.

  • Benfica have won 13 of their last 14 league games away from home.

Broadcast listings


Match details, result and original broadcast info

Porto 3 - 1 Benfica

December 30, 2021 4:00pmEstádio Do Dragão (Porto)

This match has ended. Below are the original Live broadcast details for this match.

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