In what is expected to be one of the most intense football matches of the season, Benfica and Sporting will face off at the Algarve Stadium on Sunday (August 9) to see who will take home the Portuguese Super Cup.
Having won none of its pre-season matches, Benfica is certainly the team under the most pressure.
Following a disappointing performance in the International Champions Cup in North America, with three losses and two draws, new coach Rui Vitória guarantees his team will be “well-prepared and motivated” for the Super Cup match.
“We are going to work very hard to be prepared for the match, and I’m sure things will start to go back to normal. Benfica will be strong again in the Super Cup,” Vitória said.
On the other hand, Sporting coach Jorge Jesus is on a roll.
After a shock departure from his six-year job at Benfica, Jesus is now the new hero of the ‘Lions’ following a number of convincing wins this pre-season, including two 2-0 victories over Crystal Palace and AS Rome.
Still, he says Benfica are the “favourites” to win.
“They have a head start over us, as they have a team that has been playing together for six years. They play with their eyes closed, while we are still at an early stage,” Jesus told journalists.
The match begins at 8.45pm and will be aired live on RTP1.
Around 30,000 people are expected to fill up the Algarve Stadium. Tickets are already sold out.
Benfica is the current holder of the Super Cup, having beat Rio Ave last year in a penalty shootout.
FC Porto is the Portuguese club with the most Super Cup titles (20), followed by Sporting (7) and Benfica (5).
By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]