The final round of the 2021-2022 Primeira Liga campaign gets underway on Friday when Pacos de Ferreira and Benfica square off at the Estadio Capital do Movel.
The Pacenses will be looking to snap their four-game winless run and get one over the visitors, having lost each of the last nine meetings between the sides since 2017.
Pacos de Ferreira’s hopes of a top-half finish took a fresh blow when they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of seventh-placed Santa Clara last Sunday.
In a game where Igor Vekic received an early bath, Lincoln and Ricardinho scored in either half to hand the Azoreans their ninth win of the season at the Estadio de Sao Miguel.
Cesar Peixoto’s side have now failed to taste victory in any of their last four outings, picking up two points from a possible 12 while scoring two goals and shipping 10 since a 2-0 victory over Maritimo on April 9.
With 38 points from 33 games, Pacos de Ferreira are currently 10th in the Primeira Liga standings, but could rise as high as seventh with all three points on Friday as they sit just two points off Santa Clara.
However, standing in their way is an opposing side who are unbeaten in each of the last 14 meetings between the teams and have won each of their last nine encounters since a goalless draw back in 2017.
Meanwhile, Benfica were on the losing side in yet another O Classico as they were beaten 1-0 by Porto when the rivals squared off at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica last Saturday.
Needing a point to confirm the league title, Nigerian full-back Zaidu Sanusi came up clutch for Sergio Conceicao’s side as he sparked scenes of wild celebrations with his 94th-minute winner.
Prior to that, Benfica were on a five-game unbeaten run across all competitions, picking up three wins and two draws, including a thrilling 3-3 draw at Anfield against Liverpool in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash.
Nelson Verissimo’s men have won 21, drawn five and lost six of their 33 games this season to collect 71 points and sit in third place, 11 points adrift of second-placed Porto and 17 off newly-crowned champions Porto.
Benfica head into the weekend unbeaten in all but one of their last seven away games in the Primeira Liga, picking up five wins and one draw in that time, and will look to make it three straight wins on the road and wrap up their 2021-2022 campaign on a high.
Pacos de Ferreira Primeira Liga form:
Benfica Primeira Liga form:
Benfica form (all competitions):
We say: Pacos de Ferreira 0-2 Benfica
While Pacos de Ferreira will be looking to return to winning ways, they have managed just one victory against Benfica in the last 20 meetings between the sides. This record makes Verissimo’s side firm favourites to come away with the victory, and given the gulf in quality between the two squads, we are backing them to pick up all three points unscathed.