Primeira Liga Preview: Benfica visit Sporting, Porto at Pacos de Ferreira
By Football News
Benfica will look to bounce back from a sluggish start to the Primeira Liga season when they visit Sporting in Saturday’s Lisbon derby.
Jorge Jesus' side - who missed out on last term's title by just one point - suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Maritimo in their first match of the season.
And a similar result looked on the cards last week with Benfica trailing 1-0 to Gil Vicente in front of their home fans at the Estadio da Luz heading into stoppage time.
Benfica lost just once last season, while champions Porto were unbeaten, and two successive defeats to start the campaign would have been a nightmare for the club's hopes this time around.
But amazingly, Benfica claimed a 2-1 victory as both Lazar Markovic and Lima netted in added time, leading Jesus to describe the win as one of the sweetest of his career.
They will face a much sterner test in the form of Sporting though, in what is sure to be a tense meeting between the capital city neighbours.
Sporting have begun their campaign in style, posting 5-1 and 4-0 wins over Arouca and Academica respectively.
Colombian Fredy Montero - signed from Millonarios last month - has made a stunning start to life with Sporting, scoring four goals in their two victories.
Sporting have struggled to challenge Porto and Benfica in recent years, but have an array of exciting young talent in their squad this season.
Porto have also won their first two and hit the road to face Pacos de Ferreira on Sunday.
Pacos finished a surprising third last term but enter the game just days after crashing out of the UEFA Champions League at the play-off stage. Costinha's side were beaten 8-3 on aggregate by Zenit St. Petersburg.
Despite the off-season departures of James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho to Monaco, Porto still look strong.
Hector Herrera and Diego Reyes both joined in the close-season, while highly rated Colombian Juan Quintero also moved to the club.
Other matches will see Vitoria Setubal aim to get their first points of the season when they travel to Vitoria Guimaraes on Friday.
Arouca and Belenenses are also without a point and have home fixtures against Rio Ave and Nacional on Sunday respectively.
Also on Sunday, Maritimo welcome the visit of Olhanense and Sporting Braga travel to Gil Vicente.
Monday's sole fixture sees high-flying Estoril, who have won both of their fixtures, host Academica.