Preview: Santa Clara vs. Estoril Praia – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday’s Primeira Liga clash between Santa Clara and Estoril Praia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Round 13 of the Portuguese Primeira Liga campaign comes to an end at the Estadio de Sao Miguel where Santa Clara and Estoril Praia go head to head on Monday.

The Canarinhos, who are still licking their wounds from their Taca de Portugal exit, head into the game unbeaten in six consecutive away outings and will look to continue in the same vein.

Match preview

Santa Clara's Mohammad Mohebbi celebrates scoring their first goal with Rui Costa on February 12, 2022© Reuters

Santa Clara moved out of the relegation zone for the first time this season as they held firm to see out a goalless draw against Chaves at the Estadio Municipal Eng. Manuel Branco Teixeira last Monday.

Despite seeing less than 40% of the ball possession and being under the cosh for most of the game, the visitors turned in a fine defensive performance to frustrate the Flavienses and force a share of the spoils.

Prior to that, Mario Silva‘s men secured a 1-0 victory away to Vizela on October 23 — a result which saw their five-game winless run across all competitions come to an end — before holding league champions Porto to a 1-1 draw less than a week later.

Santa Clara are currently on their longest run without defeat since May and this turnaround has seen them rise to 10th place in the Primeira Liga standings, leapfrogging Gil Vicente, who have dropped into the relegation playoff spot.

Estoril Praia's Francisco Geraldes in action on February 20, 2022© Reuters

Estoril Praia, on the other hand, suffered a fourth-round exit from the Taca de Portugal as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against Benfica at the Estadio Antonio Coimbra da Mota last Wednesday.

Following an uneventful first half, As Aguias were handed a numerical advantage in the 47th minute when Francisco Geraldes received his marching orders, before David Neres grabbed the winner in the 66th minute to send the hosts packing.

Nelson Verissimo‘s side now turn their sights to the Primeira Liga, where they are currently on a three-game winless run, picking up one draw and losing twice, including a 5-1 thrashing against Benfica in the first of their two successive league-and-cup meetings last Sunday.

Having kicked off the season with a fine run of just two losses from their first 10 matches across all competitions, Estoril Praia’s drop-off in form has been down to their recent defensive struggles as they are without a clean sheet in their last five outings, while conceding 11 goals in that time.

With 16 points from 12 matches, the Canarinhos are currently 11th in the Primeira Liga standings, but could potentially move level on points with seventh-placed Portimonense with all three points on Monday.

However, standing in their way is a Santa Clara side who they have failed to defeat in 10 of the last 11 meetings between the teams, losing four and claiming six draws since November 2018.

Santa Clara Primeira Liga form:

Estoril Praia Primeira Liga form:

Estoril Praia form (all competitions):

Team News

Estoril Praia players huddle before the match on January 8, 2022© Reuters

Santa Clara remain without the services of Paulo Henrique, who came off injured in September’s game against Pacos de Ferreira, and Portuguese midfielder Costinha, who has been ruled out with an ACL injury.

Tomas Domingos is yet to make his debut for the hosts after sustaining an injury while in action for Segunda Liga side Mafra back in May.

Another name on Os Acoreanos’s injury table is Bruno Jordao as the 23-year-old midfielder continues his long road to full fitness after also picking up a severe injury back in May.

Meanwhile, Estoril Praia will take to the pitch without former Sporting Lisbon midfielder Geraldes, who is currently suspended after picking up a red card in the midweek cup clash with Benfica.

Pedro Alvaro is a major doubt for Monday’s trip to the Estadio de Sao Miguel after the 22-year-old defender was hauled off with an injury in the aforementioned game.

In his absence, Brazilian defender Lucas Africo should return to the XI, forming the back four with Tiago Santos, Bernardo Vital and 33-year-old skipper Joaozinho.

Santa Clara possible starting lineup:
Batista; Gonzalez, Ferreira, Boateng; Sagna, Bobsin, Firmino, Quintilla; Ricardinho, Tagawa, Almeida

Estoril Praia possible starting lineup:
Figueira; Santos, Vital, Africo, Joaozinho; Rosier, Carvalho; Gouveia, Siliki, Martins; Erison

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We say: Santa Clara 1-1 Estoril Praia

Santa Clara have put together a fine run of form and will be looking to keep the juggernaut rolling. While Estoril Praia have enjoyed a relatively better campaign so far, they appear to have run out of steam in recent weeks. However, we are backing the Canarinhos to do just enough to force a share of the spoils.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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