Lisbon derby: Jorge Jesus returns with Sporting for Benfica battle
Holly Thackeray | October 24th
Benfica v Sporting Lisbon
- Primeira Liga
- Sunday, October 25th
- Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
- Estadio da Luz, Lisbon
- BT Sport 2
Prodigal Portuguese coach returns
Portugal’s biggest and bitterest football rivalry between cross-capital giants Benfica and Sporting Lisbon takes centre stage this Sunday, and the first Lisbon derby duel of the season should pack an extra punch.
Current Lions coach Jorge Jesus controversially jumped ship last summer, with former playing club Sporting poaching the accomplished tactician from their foes, as the Eagles had perhaps unwisely allowed the Iberian to run down his contract after a reported wage dispute.
The off-field board-room fireworks have continued, but now Jesus makes his first fiery return to the Estadio da Luz to make his mark where it counts…on the pitch. Knowing the opposition so well, after spending six seasons as Benfica boss, Sporting are 23/10 with Coral to rub salt in the wound and inflict a damaging defeat on their competitors.
However, the Eagles’ excellent home record, forged under Jesus, has continued in his absence, with Benfica now boasting an unbelievable stretch of three years without a Primeira Liga loss and it is tough to see that being smashed. Though if one man can, it is Sporting’s new dugout star.
Three of the last four cross-Lisbon scuffles have ended evenly, so a draw at 21/10 for the Lions would be no drama and could be the most realistic chance of taking points. Yet, as Jesus’ new side are trailing Porto on just goal difference in the Liga, losing ground here would be hard to take.
Being four points behind Sporting and Porto at this early stage is embarrassing for Benfica, and there would be no better way for the Eagles to get back on track after a midweek Champions League loss to Turkish club Galatasaray, than with a win here.
Defeat to Jesus just isn’t an option as far as Eagles fans and hierarchy must be concerned, so the hosts are 23/20 to get the better of their unwanted guests. In Benfica’s favour, they have not lost at home to Sporting since 2006, so are certainly worth a punt at 4/1 to win with both teams to score.
Ones to watch
For the home side, Argentine attacker Nicolas Gaitan has grabbed two goals in his last three Lisbon derby outings. Added to that, the man of the moment has also clocked-up two strikes in as many of his last matches so is surely value at 10/3 in the anytime market. While, young-guns Goncalo Guedes and Anderson Talisca are 15/2 and 7/1 to ripple the net first and last respectively.
Inspirational Algerian Islam Slimani is also a previous scorer in this fixture for Sporting, so is 15/8 to fire in anytime, while Colombian sharpshooter Teofilo Gutierrez is 8/1 to deliver the final blow.
Betting tip: Back in-form Gaitan @ 10/3 to score anytime