Can Benfica win the Liga NOS title on the final day of the season?

    17 May 2019 | Primeira | Preview
    Can Benfica win the Liga NOS title on the final day of the season?
    Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock
    2180

    Just two points separate Liga NOS’s top two clubs. Benfica are atop the league with 84 points while FC Porto sit on 82.

    Benfica can win the Portuguese title on Saturday evening with a win or draw against eighth-place Santa Clara. They have the easier of the fixtures as Porto will battle third-place Sporting Lisbon on the final day.

    Even if Benfica and Porto finish level on points, the title will go to the Lisbon-based club due to goal difference.

    Bruno Lage’s team have won eight consecutive Liga NOS matches. The last time Benfica tasted defeat in the league was January. Meanwhile, their last draw came in mid-March.

    Santa Clara will hope to spoil Benfica’s title party. The small club from the Azores solidified their spot in the top flight with a respectable season having earned promotion this time last year. Santa Clara have been impressive posting a 11W-9D-13L record in their first season back in the league.

    Manager Joao Henriques’ team is undefeated in five of their last six matches. Their most recent game against Feirense ended in a thrilling 4-4 draw.

    Benfica strolled to a 2-0 win when the clubs met earlier this season. Haris Seferovic and Jardel scored on either side of halftime to lead Benfica to an easy clean sheet victory.

    The game was fiery as six yellow cards and a red card were handed out on the day. Santa Clara’s Fabio Cardoso was sent off in the 44th minute with a straight red card. His sending off took away any chance of a comeback.

    The teams’ match earlier this season was their first meeting since 2012 in the Portuguese Cup. In their eight most recent matches dating back to 1999, Benfica have compiled a 7W-1D-0L record against Santa Clara.

    Any hopes of a Santa Clara victory to enable Porto to pip Benfica to the title may be over blown. Santa Clara’s history against Benfica does not bode well for a victory on Saturday.

    Benfica have kept 17 clean sheets in all competitions this season while scoring three goals per game.

    Seferovic has scored 22 times for Benfica in all competitions while exciting young prospect Joao Felix has scored 14 goals. Felix could be Benfica’s next big transfer sale this summer as clubs around Europe have been scouting the youngster.

    Benfica won four Liga NOS titles in a row from 2014 to 2017. The last two seasons saw Porto lift the title. Lage will lead Benfica back to glory on Saturday as Benfica put goals past Santa Clara.

    The two sides should combine for over 2.5 goals and a Benfica win in Lisbon.