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Primeira Liga preview: Benfica confident ahead of Maritimo trip, Porto host Vitoria Setubal

Benfica will look to extend their Primeira Liga winning streak to nine matches when they visit Maritimo on Monday.

Jorge Jesus’ side have not lost in 26 top-flight matches this season and top the table – ahead of rivals Porto, who are also unbeaten – by four points.
 
And fresh off a 2-0 win over Sporting in the Lisbon derby, in which midfield duo Nemanja Matic and Nicolas Gaitan were superb, Benfica will be full of confidence.
 
Matic – who moved from Chelsea as a makeweight in the deal that saw David Luiz go to Stamford Bridge – has enjoyed a stellar season while forwards Lima and Oscar Cardozo have netted 16 goals each throughout the campaign.
 
Maritimo have been in patchy form, winning just one of their last six matches, but they did claim a 1-1 home draw with reigning champions Porto last month.
 
Porto are in action on Saturday when they welcome Vitoria Setubal to Estadio Do Dragao and because Benfica are playing two days later, they can close the gap at the top of the table to just one point with a victory.
 
Argentine Lucho Gonzalez starred for Porto in a 3-0 win over Moreirense last week, while Vitoria Setubal snapped a five-match losing streak with a 1-0 triumph over Estoril.
 
The 27th round of the season kicks off on Friday when Estoril play Sporting Braga.
 
Pacos de Ferreira have been the surprise package of the season, climbing to third despite a small budget, and their 2-1 win over Rio Ave last week guaranteed them a top-four finish, which will be the club’s best in their history.
 
They are unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions and are on the road to fifth-placed Vitoria Guimaraes on Sunday.
 
Other fixtures on Sunday sees bottom-placed Beira-Mar travel to Rio Ave, while Gil Vicente host Olhanense, Sporting welcome Nacional and Academica battle Moreirense.
Thu 25 April, 2013
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