Preview: Moreirense vs. Benfica
The current leaders of the Segunda Liga and Primeira Liga go head to head in Group C of the Taca da Liga as Moreirense play host to Benfica on Saturday.
After two rounds of matches, both sides are currently tied on six points at the top of the table, meaning that a place in the knockout stages will be on the line at the Parque Joaquim de Almeida Freitas this weekend.
Midway through the season, manager Paulo Alves will be satisfied with his side’s performance as they are well on course to secure a return to the Portuguese top flight while also enjoying an impressive cup campaign.
Os verdes e brancos have picked up 10 wins, two draws and lost one of their 13 league matches to collect 32 points and sit top of the Segunda Liga table, four points above second-placed Farense.
Moreirense have carried their fine league form to the Taca da Liga, where they have picked up two wins from their opening two games in Group C to sit above second-placed Benfica on goal difference.
They kicked off their cup campaign on November 17, when they secured a 2-1 victory away to Penafiel courtesy of late goals from Stivan Petkov and Andre Luis before brushing aside Estrala 4-2 10 days later.
Moreirense head into the weekend on a run of eight wins in their eight home matches across all competitions this season and this impressive record has been down to their solid display in attack, where they have netted 24 goals while keeping three clean sheets.
On the other hand, Benfica got their quest for a record-extending seventh Taca da Liga crown underway on November 20 when they secured a narrow 3-2 victory over Estrela at the Estadio Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa.
Roger Schmidt’s men secured a more comfortable 2-0 victory over Penafiel at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica six days later thanks to second-half goals from Gilberto and former Ajax forward David Neres.
As Aguias’ cup run has been in keeping with their impressive performances in the Primeira Liga, where they are the only side yet to suffer defeat this season and sit top of the standings with 37 points from 13 matches.
They are now unbeaten in their 27 competitive matches across all competitions this season — claiming 24 wins and three draws — a run which saw them secure top spot in Group H of the Champions League.
However, the 37-time Portuguese champions were condemned to a 1-0 defeat by Sevilla when the sides squared off in a friendly fixture last Sunday when Ivan Rakktic struck shortly after the hour mark to hand the La Liga outfit a narrow victory.
Benfica will fancy their chances of returning to winning ways and progressing to the Taca da Liga knockout phase as they take on a Moreirense side who are winless in each of the last seven meetings between the teams, losing four and claiming three draws since a 3-1 victory in November 2018.
Moreirense Taca da Liga form:
Moreirense form (all competitions):
Benfica Taca da Liga form:
Benfica form (all competitions):
We say: Moreirense 1-2 Benfica
Given the gulf in quality and experience between the two sides, Benfica head into the weekend as firm favourites to come away with all three points. However, Moreirense have been near impenetrable on home turf this season and will be backing themselves to cause an upset.
While we expect Alves’ men to give As Aguias a run for their money on Saturday, the Primeira Liga side possess the firepower needed to get the job done and we are backing them to claim a slender victory.