Sporting CP are poised to seal their first Liga Primeira title since 2002 as they play hosts to Boavista on Tuesday.
Following the 1-1 draw with O Classico between SL Benfica and FC Porto, Sporting CP only need a win to secure the Liga Primeira title as they take on Boavista on Tuesday.
With three matches to go, the Leões are currently leading the table by eight points. They can seal the title well before their midweek game, however, should FC Porto fail to secure on their Monday game against SC Farense.
Ideally, though, Sporting will be hoping to earn a victory that could extend their points tally to 82 points while also maintaining their extraordinary unbeaten record.
Boavista, in contrast, are embroiled in a relegation fight that makes this affair almost a must-win one, as they currently dawdling in the 16th position – just one away from safety.
While a win could potentially take them ahead of 13th placed Famalicao, a defeat could similarly SC Farense to drive them into the direct relegation places. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at these two teams ahead of their David Vs Goliath encounter this midweek.
Tactics & Team News
Ruben Amorim has no reasons to tinker with his winning formula, as he looks to secure the league title before making a few experiences with his squad in the upcoming matchdays.
As such, we are expecting the Sporting CP head coach to persist with his 3-4-2-1 formula, as the back three combination of Goncalo Inacio, Sebastian Coates and Zouhair Feddal look to once again protect Antonio Adan and maintain the club’s excellent defensive record.
— Sporting CP English (@SportingCP_en) May 6, 2021
In addition to defensive solidity, the three-man backline provides Sporting with numerical superiority in midfield as well as more protection in possession.
Joao Palhinha plays a key role in offering that security, using the ability to read the game, coupled with his dribbling skills that often becomes useful in evading the second line of press. The 25-year-old will be aided by Joao Mario in central midfield.
There shouldn’t be any changes in the wingback slots either, with Joao Pereira, deputising for the injured Pedro Porro, and Nuno Mendes hoping to offer the creative support to the attack led by Paulinho, with the support of playmakers like Pedro Goncalves and Nuno Santos.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Adan; Inacio, Coates, Feddal; Pereira, Palhinha, Mario, Mendes; Goncalves, Paulinho, Santos
Boavista head coach Jerusaldo Ferreira also likes to deploy a back-three, though it could be more of a back-five, given the quality of the opposition.
As such, we are expecting the two wingbacks in Reggie Cannon and Ricardo Mangas to aid the established back three of Chidozie Awaziem, Adil Rami and Cristian Devenish. They are likely to deploy a low block, as Ferreira sets his sights on a draw that could be useful at this part of the campaign.
Moving forward, Boavista’s second line of press should be comprised of Gustavo Sauer, Sebastian Perez and Paulinho, not to be confused with the Sporting forward, although the one will play a key role in cutting down the supply for the other.
And finally, in the attacking department, Boavista will rest their hopes upon top-scorer Alberth Elis and his partner Angel Gomes. The duo has combined 14 of the club’s 36 goals in the Liga Primeira this season – making them a vital part of the visitors’ offensive firepower.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Jardim; Awaziem, Rami, Devenish; Cannan, Sauer, Perez, Paulinho, Mangas; Gomes, Elis
- Sporting Lisbon secured a comfortable 2-0 win, when these two teams last met each other, in the reverse fixture back in late January.
- Along with Ajax, Sporting Lisbon are the only club in Europe’s top seven leagues to remain unbeaten even at this stage of the campaign. Their only two defeats in the 2020/21 campaign in all competitions came against LASK (Europa League qualifying) and Maritimo (Taca de Portugal).
- Boavista have the second-worst defensive record in the league, having conceded as many as 47 goals in just 31 league matches this season.
- Sporting, in contrast, have the best defensive record in the league, having conceded just 15 goals in 30 matches – an average of only one goal in two matches!
- Sporting Lisbon have failed to win three of their seven six league games – as many as they did in their previous 16 matches in Liga NOS this season.
Player to Watch
It is Pedro Goncalves 🔥
22 yo, 21 G/A in 29 Liga appearances.
Leon Bailey and Buendia excellent guesses.
Would be interesting to see if we get linked to any of these as Sancho alternatives during summer.#MUFC https://t.co/aYrUukznPz pic.twitter.com/zbnkMDjDLw
— David Cartwright (@MUFCReloaded) May 8, 2021
Pedro Goncalves broke his scoring duck by finding the back of the net in the 2-0 win over Rio Ave over the weekend. His performance is going to be key once again, as the Lions hope to finally secure the league title with yet another victory over relegation-threatened Boavista this midweek.
From a tactical perspective, Goncalves’ ability to work in between the lines will be a threat to Bosvista’s low defensive block that will emphasise on offering very little freedom in between the two blocks. Ferreira’s men, therefore, need to find a way to neutralise the influence of this in-form Portuguese, who has been one of the best players in Liga Primeira this season.
Sporting CP 2-0 Boavista
Sporting CP secured a 2-0 away win in the reverse fixture and they are likely to prevail with the same scoreline, given Boavista’s leaky backline that might crumble once again under pressure. The return of scoring form for Goncalves should also work in Sporting’s favour, as they brace themselves for their first league title since 2002.