Benfica will host second-tier AVS at Estadio da Luz in the final matchday of the Taca da Liga group stage on Thursday.
Benfica remains the favorites to advance, requiring only a win or avoiding a two-goal defeat to secure first place over AVS.
Benfica’s manager, Roger Schmidt, heads into this crucial fixture after a significant week, securing victories against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League and Braga in the Primeira Liga.
They recently clinched a 1-0 away victory against Braga, temporarily leading the Primeira Liga before Sporting Lisbon’s win.
Benfica’s progression in the Taca da Liga seems imminent following a 2-0 win over Arouca in the current group stage.
AVS, the youngest professional club in Portugal, replaced CD Aves and is performing admirably in the second tier.
They’re just a point away from league leaders Santa Clara after three consecutive wins. However, their cup performances have been inconsistent, suffering an upset loss to Dumiense in the Taca de Portugal.
Schmidt may opt to rotate his Benfica side, resting key players like Di Maria, Rafa Silva, Joao Mario, and Trubin. Cabral, Araujo, and Jurasek could feature, while Bah, Bernat, and Neres remain sidelined due to injuries.
AVS manager Jorge Costa might also rotate the squad, possibly resting players like Nene, the influential 40-year-old striker. They have been effective in the league, but their cup performances have varied.
Aursnes, Antonio Silva, Tomas Araujo, Jurasek;
Chiquinho, Joao Neves, Florentino Luis;
Tengstedt, Arthur Cabral, Goncalo Guedes
Fonseca, Ricardo Dias, Thiago Freitas, Ze Ricardo;
Joao Amorim, Fabio Pacheco, Gustavo Mendonca;
Edson Farias, Sangare, Carlos Daniel
Prediction: Benfica 2-0 AVS
Expecting significant rotations from both sides, the game might lack intensity. Benfica should secure a comfortable victory on home turf, given their two-goal advantage cushion, while AVS may focus more on their promotion aspirations from the second tier.