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Benfica have a Sporting chance in the Lisbon derby

Seven points separate Lisbon’s leading sides at the top of the Portuguese Liga, and reigning champions Benfica boast 12 wins from their last 15 outings. As a result, they are slight favourites with Coral at 7/4 to beat rivals Sporting Lisbon in third.

Anderson Talisca, the Eagles’ top scorer with nine, has been a revelation for the visitors this season, and is 9/4 to net anytime. Rodrigo Lima, who has two in his last three, meanwhile, is 2/1 in the same market.

Sporting got into derby with six straight league wins under their belt, and boast an 11-match unbeaten run. Freddy Montero has two in his last three, and is 21/10 to dispatch anytime, while Joao Mario Eduardo also has the same statistic and is a 4/1 chance.

Manchester United loanee Nani often relished big games for the Old Trafford club, and few fixtures in Portugal carry more significant than this. Sporting’s triicky winger netted a penalty in the 4-2 home win over Rio Ave in mid-January, and is 8/1 to net the first goal, and add to his tally of three for the season.

Both teams are littered with attacking talent, and Benfica’s Argentine pair Eduardo Salvio and Nicolas Gaitan have been key components to their rise of recent seasons in challenging the domestic dominance of Porto. They are 13/2 and 12/1 respectively to break the deadlock, and have scored a combined 11 goals this campaign.

The difference between the two teams, which could be instrumental in determining the spoils on Lisbon derby day, is that Benfica have lost established midfield enforcer Enzo Perez to Valencia in the January transfer window. Hosts Sporting, however, will be confident about attacking with anchorman William Carvalho retained and protecting their defence.

There is also British interest in this match for another reason. Although used sparingly this term, Scotland’s 19-year-old Ryan Gauld may feature, and be given some big game experience, having scored recently for Sporting in the Taca de la Liga (Portuguese league cup).