With FC Porto’s win on Sunday night, Benfica will play at Gil Vicente tonight in Barcelos to finish Week 22.
Benfica finds themselves trailing by two points and nothing but a win will satisfy their supporters who are nervous after losing 6 points in two weeks.
This match will not be easy as Benfica will face a club managed by promotion specialist Vitor Oliveira, who this season has performed a different kind of miracle.
Gil Vicente, which won promotion to the Liga NOS after years in courts over their administrative relegation due to Caso Mateus, was playing in the third division last year. Despite that, they signed a new squad last summer and have managed to stay near the mid-table this season behind Oliveira’s vast experience.
They have also recorded wins over FC Porto, Sporting CP and tied SC Braga. They will be seeking to take points against Benfica and continue to make history.
It will be a tough task and they will be missing four players through injury: Rúben Ribeiro, Rodrigo, Vítor Carvalho, and Naidji.
Bruno Lage is aware of the supporters’ nervousness heading into the match tonight in Minho. Last season, he overcame a seven-point deficit against FC Porto, but this year if things don’t change quickly, he could be the victim of a seven-point rally by Porto.
“The team is okay and is looking forward to the next match,” said Lage. “Physically, we have recovered very well, and psychologically, what the team needs is just to play, to play with quality and win.”
He is also very well aware of Gil Vicente’s capability and remembers their first match.
“This is a Gil who rebuilt their team and has had a very positive run in the first leg of the schedule. I remember our first match. They are a team with good organization and are very strong in transitions. They are also very good at organizing their attack and with many people attacking from the depth.”
Benfica has not tasted victory in their last three matches and wants to avoid a fourth in a sold-out Estádio Cidade de Barcelos.
They will be missing through injury: André Almeida, Gabriel, and Jardel.
Kick-off is scheduled for 19:30 and will be broadcast internationally on RTPi.
After tomorrow night, Benfica will prepare for a quick turnaround on Thursday night in the Luz with their second leg against Shakhtar.