The big derby marks the start of the new calendar year and kicks off a cycle of three matches in the Liga NOS that Benfica will have to face in the first weeks of 2018. The kick-off to this streak of matches is scheduled for January 3rd at 9:30 pm, at Estádio da Luz, and the tickets are already available for sale.
The Liga Portugal has already defined the schedule of rounds 16, 17 and 18, Gameweeks in which the eagles face Sporting (home), Moreirense (away) and SC Braga (away), respectively.
But let us focus on the derby… On January 3rd will take place the 167th encounter between Benfica and Sporting in the championship and it will be the 84th clash in the eagles' ground. At home, the reds have been much stronger than the rivals as the 46 wins (55%) against 15 of the rivals illustrate. In the last season, the derby took place in December and Benfica won by 2-1, with goals from Salvio and Raúl (VIDEO); Bas Dost pulled one back for the lions.
Four day later, the first half of the league finishes with a trip to Moreira de Cónegos, a ground where the team led by Rui Vitória has a 100% winning record in the Liga NOS. Seven triumphs in seven matches, 19 goals scored and only six goals conceded are the numbers that “feed” the history. In the last trip, in the 28th round of 2016/17, the Greek Mitroglou sealed the win with a clinical strike in the 42’.
THE SECOND HALF OF LEAGUE STARTS IN THE CITY OF THE ARCHBISHOPS
On January 13th, at 8:30 pm, Benfica opens the second half of the championship playing against SC Braga. Braga's home ground is always a difficult venue as Braga's home results in the current season show: seven wins and one defeat in eight games.
Whether it is at Luz (in the derby), or in the trips to Alto Minho (Moreirense and SC Braga), there are expected real Red Waves supporting Benfica in the next matches in the Liga NOS.
BENFICA'S CYCLE OF MATCHES IN THE LIGA NOS IN JANUARY
Gameweek 16 – 03/01/2018
Gameweek 17 – 07/01/2018
Gameweek 18 – 13/01/2018
Text: Marco Rebelo
Pics: Archive / SL Benfica