Still without having defined who will be his new coach, Benfica faces Santa Clara this Friday, January 11, in a clash that is part of the schedule of the seventeenth round of the Portuguese Championship version 2018/2019, the last of the first round. The meeting will be held at the São Miguel stadium in Ponta Delgada, and kick-off scheduled for 17h (Brasília time).
Despite reaching only one point in the last two games – defeat to Tondela (2 to 1) and tie with Feirense (2 to 2), Santa Clara arrives at the end of the initial turn of the First League with the mission accomplished.In his return to the elite division of Portuguese football, he managed to stay away from the relegation zone. With 21 points (six wins, three draws and seven losses), he is ninth in the First League standings table. He has nine points advantage in comparison with Feirense, sixteenth place and first place.It is an extremely comfortable situation and allows even a drop in yield in the second half of the dispute to ensure the First Division remain. The expectation is that 32 points will suffice for this.Home performance, however, needs to be improved. In this respect, Santa Clara presents candidate numbers for demotion. It’s the second worst of the tournament. Of the 24 points that played in his stadium, he managed to add only seven (two wins, one draw and five losses) with 14 goals scored and 17 conceded.
In the sixteenth round, Benfica made their first match without Rui Vitória in charge. The coach was fired after a 2-0 loss to Portimonense on Matchday 15. He did not make a brilliant performance but showed more offensive power, which was enough to defeat at Luz, Rio Ave, for 4 2, with the interim command of Bruno Lage, coach of Benfica B.He reached 35 points (11 wins, two draws and three losses). He ended up winning third place in the standings as Sporting defeated Tondela 2-1 in the second leg. The distance to Porto, leader, followed in the house of the seven points.To face Santa Clara, Lage will remain in charge. Although the fans had been asking for the resignation of coach Rui Vitoria for months, the top men showed they did not have a B plan for when the inevitable happened. During the week, they signaled the possibility of hiring José Mourinho.The Portuguese coach, who rose to the market to take the Porto to the conquest of the Champions League of Europe, is down. He was fired from his last two clubs in England (Chelsea and Manchester United). Thus, he even admitted to returning to the country. Despite being unemployed, at least at first this would only happen next season. This way, in case the transaction takes place, Lage would continue playing the boat.The problem is that the fans do not seem satisfied just with the fall of Rui Vitoria. Now they ask for the head of the club’s president, Luís Filipe Vieira. This created mistrust when Mourinho’s name was quoted. It could be a maneuver to divert attention.For the meeting this Friday, the Brazilian striker Jonas (ten games in the Portuguese Championship 2018/2019, six goals) follows from outside. He is suspended due to his expulsion in the match against Portimonense. The midfielder Rafa Silva, bruised, is another likely low.
Football Prediction of the Day Santa Clara vs Benfica
Benfica has never been defeated by Santa Clara. In seven matches, it was six wins and one draw. The most recent meeting, however, took place in the 2011/2012 season. He won the League Cup of Portugal and won the Lisbon 2-0.
Without Rui Vitoria, Benfica played more loose, was more offensive, but did not show a great football. That should bring problems in the future if Bruno Lage fails to give a more efficient tactical pattern to the club. However, before the modest Santa Clara should be enough. Therefore, the prognosis in the victory of the visitors seems to be the most suitable for the confrontation of this Friday by the Portuguese Championship.
Bet Tips: Benfica wins