Preview: Benfica vs. Gil Vicente

Preview: Benfica vs. Gil Vicente

Fresh off the back of losing to Sporting Lisbon in the Taca da Liga final, Benfica welcome Gil Vicente to the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in round 20 of the Primeira Liga on Wednesday.

The visitors, on the other hand, head into the game on a four-game unbeaten run and will look to keep the juggernaut rolling and strengthen their position in the top half of the table.

Benfica failed to get the better of rivals Sporting Lisbon as they fell to a 2-1 defeat when the sides went head to head in the Taca da Liga final last Saturday.

Lucas Verissimo’s men endured a rough road to the finals, edging out second-placed Vitoria de Guimaraes only on penalties after claiming four points from three games, before needing penalties to see off Boavista in last Tuesday’s semi-finals.

However, As Aguias were 45 minutes away from the title after Brazilian forward Everton netted in the 22nd minutes to hand them a first-half advantage, but Goncalo Inacio and Pablo Sarabia scored in the second half to turned the game on its head as the Leoes clinched their second piece of silverware this season.

Benfica now turn their sights to the Primeira Liga, where they are unbeaten in each of their most recent three games, claiming two wins and one draw, while losing just once in their last six.

This fine form has seen them close the gap on second-placed Sporting Lisbon in the Primeira Liga standings as they now sit just three points behind the reigning champions with 44 points from 19 games.

Meanwhile, Gil Vicente returned to winning ways last time out as they dug deep to secure a hard-earned 1-0 victory over a resilient Portimonense side at the Estadio Cidade de Barcelos.

After failing to convert several clear-cut chances in the first half, Portuguese midfielder Pedrinho came up trumps for the Gilistas as he found the target in the 74th minute to hand the visitors a fifth defeat in six games.

Prior to that, Ricardo Soares’s men saw their two-game winning run come to an end courtesy of a 1-1 draw at Boavista on January 15, when Gaius Makouta’s fourth-minute strike was canceled out by Samuel Lino six minutes after the hour mark.

Gil Vicente head into Wednesday’s game unbeaten in all but one of their last eight league games — claiming five wins and two draws — with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sporting Lisbon on December 18 being the only exception.

With 30 points from 19 games, Wednesday’s visitors are currently fifth on the log, three points above Vitoria de Guimaraes just outside the Conference League qualification places.

While Gil Vicente will look to keep their fine form going, they face the daunting task of taking on a Benfica side who are unbeaten in 15 of the last 16 meetings between the sides since 2011, claiming 13 wins and two draws since.

Benfica Primeira Liga form:
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Benfica form (all competitions):
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Gil Vicente Primeira Liga form:
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We say: Benfica 2-1 Gil Vicente
After slipping in the title race, Benfica could move into second place with all three points on Wednesday. While Gil Vicente will look to keep their fine form going, we are tipping the hosts to come away with all three points given the gulf in class and quality between their two squads.

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