Moreirense vs Benfica
Portuguese Primeira Liga
Date: Sunday, 17 March 2019
Kick-Off at 17:30 UK / 18:30 CET
Venue: Estadio Estádio Comendador Joaquim de Almeida Freitas (Moreira de Conegos).
One of the most interesting matches of this weekend will happen in Portugal, as the dark horses of this year’s Liga NOS, will face the leader Benfica. After edging through the relegation battle last season, Moreirense are now surprisingly on 5th place, with 42 points and a positive goal difference. Furthermore, they have taken points to Porto, a month ago, when they drew 1-1 with the ‘Dragons’, who were on verge of losing but were saved by a late goal from Hector Herrera.
Impressive, especially considering that the highest point record they obtained in the whole league was 46, in 2002/2003 and they are just 4 points ahead of overcoming that mark. Also, they will likely achieve their best league finish ever if they continue their run.
On the other hand, Benfica have recovered impressively since January. After the dismissal of coach Rui Vitoria, the Lisbon team hired substitute Bruno Lage who went on a 12 undefeated match streak, achieving wins over Sporting and Porto away. Still, instead of exploiting on that advantage they conquered in the Dragao, the ‘eagles’ lost two precious points last Monday, when they drew 2-2 at home with Belenenses.
Add to this the fact that they must face Dinamo Zagreb at home this Thursday, with a tough game ahead after losing the first leg in Croatia for 1-0. So, fatigue will likely show up, after three games in less than a week.
Furthermore, Benfica lost recently one of Bruno Lage’s precious gems, who was part of the recent demolishing attack force: Haris Seferovic. The Swiss suffered a muscle tear on the right adductor and will likely miss out that game.
Jonas will be the chosen one to replace Seferovic, but the 34-year-old striker, who has been benched in favor of his Swiss teammate after a couple of injuries, does not always deliver when the team most needs him. He is always a dangerous force, being one of the most prolific goalscorers in the team’s history, but when it comes to big matches, we can say he is quite of a ‘choker’.
Head to Head
Not surprisingly, Benfica has won 19 of their 24 previous encounters, with only 3 draws and 2 wins for Moreirense. Still, those two wins happened recently, one of which in last November, when the green and white team visited Estadio da Luz.
It was an unexpected 1-3 win with Chiquinho, Pedro Nuno and Loum sealing the deal for the visitors, who confirmed that they were headed into one of their best seasons ever.
In the last 6 matches Moreirense has scored 10 goals, against Benfica’s 11. Also, the Lisbon team has conceded only 4, while the hosts suffered 6.
Moreirense x Benfica: Prediction
This match might not be against one of the top 4 rivals, but it will present some added difficulty for Benfica, plus the pressure of holding their leadership, especially bearing in mind that Porto will play in the day before, at home, with Maritimo. Will they choke after the convincing streak from last months and after a hardly fought win at the Dragao? The odds for Benfica winning are at 1.51.
If you are a believer and you like to take a risk, just devote your thoughts on the possibility of Moreirense (with best odds at 6.55) to come up on top when they face Benfica this Sunday. Is it true that Moreirense lost unexpectedly last weekend against Maritimo, 3-2, but this game presents an extra motivation for players and do not expect to see the same defensive carelessness that they presented in Funchal.
Still, their attacking force might not be enough to get the whole 3 points, but considering Benfica’s lacking their main striker, a draw is a strong probability. The odds for a draw are at 4.22 at the moment.
Moreirense x Benfica: Bet Tips
BTTS @ 1.89
Under 2.5 FT @ 2.02.