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Benfica host Porto on Friday evening in a huge Portuguese Primeira Liga clash that which could show which of the two teams are best prepared to challenge for the title this season. With both teams locked together in 1st and 2nd spot in the division, level on 49 points with Porto just 3 goals ahead of their rivals, the points from this game are vitally important.
Separating the two in terms of a winner is a near impossible task. Both clubs have an identical record this season of P20 W15 D4 L1 and neither team have been defeated at home.
Benfica have won all 10 of their games at the Estadiao do Sport, although Porto will pose their toughest test to date.
Benfica have scored an average of 3.2 goals per game at home this season, and will hope they can continue their fantastic record against Porto, who have the tightest defence in the league, conceding just 13 goals all season.
The teams contested a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture at Porto last September, a sign of just how evenly matched these teams are.
Neither team will want to over commit in this fixture, and it could well be a cagey affair as so much is at stake.
Porto’s limitations were exposed at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad a couple of weeks ago; City comfortably beat them 4-0 and eliminated them from the Europa League.
Benfica were also dealt a blow in their 3-0 loss to Zenith St.Petersburg in the same competition, but both teams are the true heavyweights of Portuguese football, and this is a not to be missed clash.
The bookmakers are having an equally tough time splitting the two teams. Benfica have been installed as very narrow favourites for the victory, largely due to their 100% home record.
With this likely to be a very tentative game it may pay to bet on under 2.5 goals being scored. Although they battled out a 2-2 draw earlier in the season, we are approaching crunch time in the league and it would be a huge blow for either team if they were to lose this clash.