Fresh off the back of losing to Braga in the Primeira Liga, Sporting Lisbon take on Santa Clara at the Estadio Jose Alvalade for a place in the Taca da Liga final on Wednesday.
The visitors ended their six-game losing streak against the Leoes in the most recent meeting between the sides and will be hoping for a repeat of that result.
Taca da Liga reigning champions Sporting Lisbon were sent crashing back to earth in the Primeira Liga last Saturday when they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Braga on home turf.
After falling behind to Pedro Goncalves’s second-minute opener, Carlos Carvalhal’s men rallied in the second half as Wenderson Galeno restored parity from the spot seven minutes after the interval before Jean-Baptiste Gorby turned the tie on its head in the 97th minute.
Prior to that, the Leoes suffered their first league defeat when they were beaten 3-2 by a resilient Santa Clara side on January 7, before claiming successive victories over Leca in the Taca de Portugal and Arouca respectively.
Ruben Amorim’s men now turn their attention to Taca da Liga, where they opened their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Famalicao on October 26 before seeing off a dogged Penafiel side 1-0 to clinch top spot in Group B and secure qualification to the knockout stages.
Meanwhile, after edging out Farense in the qualifiers back in August, Santa Clara got their Taca da Liga run underway with a 2-2 draw with Rio Ave before stunning Porto to a 3-1 victory in their final group game.
In a thrilling contest at the Estadio de Sao Miguel, Mehdi Taremi pulled one back for the Dragoes after Andrei Chindris and Ricardinho put the hosts ahead, but Nene scored the 96th minute to cap off a sensational team performance and send Os Acoreanos through to the semi-finals.
Santa Clara head into Wednesday’s game fresh off the back of a 2-0 victory over 10-man Moreirense in the Primeira Liga courtesy of goals in either half from Ricardinho and Mohammad Mohebi.
Mario Silva’s men are unbeaten in each of their most recent three league outings — their longest run without a defeat in the Primeira Liga this season — picking up two wins and one draw, while scoring seven goals in that time.
While they will look to keep this fine form going and make it to the cup final, next up is the daunting task of going up against an opposing side who have won six of the last seven meetings between the teams since 2018.
Sporting Lisbon Taca da Liga form:
Sporting Lisbon form (all competitions):
Santa Clara Taca da Liga form:
Santa Clara form (all competitions):
We say: Sporting Lisbon 2-0 Santa Clara
Santa Clara will head into the game with renewed confidence after returning to winning ways last time out. However, Sporting Lisbon have been utterly dominant in the history of this fixture and we predict they will extend their dominance and come away with the win in normal time.