Thursday, July 2, 2020

Prediction: Benfica vs Tondela

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 3 Jun 2020

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Verdict: Benfica to win by more than two goals

Best odds: 7/5

Bookmaker: bet365

The Portuguese Primeira Liga finally returns on Wednesday, after a break that lasted almost three months caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Portimonense and Gil Vicente will take to the pitch first that evening, with the clash between Famalicao and Porto following fast. On Thursday, Maritimo will face Vitoria Setubal, and Vitoria Guimaraes will play host to Sporting Lisbon, but squeezed in between those games, Benfica will welcome Tondela to their Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica. All those games will be parts of the 25th round of the season.

Benfica

As has often been the case in the Portuguese top flight in recent years, the title is set to be decided once more between Benfica and their fierce rivals Porto. At the moment, it’s Porto who led the way with 60 points from the 24 games already played. Defending champions Benfica are right on their tail, with 59. It’s hard to imagine Braga in third place with 46, or Sporting Lisbon in fourth, 42, usurping either of the top two for the remainder of the campaign.

This, naturally means that, for Benfica, it’s all about the title race now. Both they and Porto won 19 games apiece so far, a truly impressive feat, and they will likely go neck-to-neck until the very end.

Given the three-month break, it’s probably pointless to talk about form for a while. Yet, for what it’s worth, Benfica won two, drew two and lost two of their last six matches.

Team News

The long break has allowed for defender Jardel and midfielder Gabriel to return to full fitness, but attacking midfielder David Tavares won’t be available for coach Bruno Lage’s selection. The 21-year-old has tested positive for Covid-19.

Tondela

Unlike Benfica, Tondela probably aren’t interested in anything other than bare survival which would ensure they make their sixth consecutive campaign in the Primeira Liga in 2020/21. They sit in 14th place with 25 points and seem likely to get their wish. Two bottom teams are getting relegated in the end, and at the moment those places are occupied by Portimonense and Aves, with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Maritimo (24) and Pacos Ferreira (22) currently represent the cushion between Tondela and the danger zone. Of course, with whole 10 rounds yet to played nothing is decided yet. It remains to be seen what hope or motivation they have of gaining anything against Benfica to help them get over the line as soon as possible. After all, they wouldn’t want to risk getting dragged into an unnecessary scramble at the very end.

The previous six rounds saw Natxo Gonzalez’s team win only once, drawing twice and losing three times.

Team News

Gonzalez won’t be able to call upon defender Fahd Moufi who is injured, but the rest of his squad should be ready to play.

Conclusion

It’s necessary to stress once more that this will be the first outing for both sides after three months away from a football pitch, so surprises certainly seem possible. However, it would be a great surprise indeed if Tondela were to get a point here, let alone three. A convincing win for the title-chasing Benfica is more than likely.

Verdict: Benfica to win by more than two goals

Best odds: 7/5

Bookmaker: bet365

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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