Gabriel is recovered from the Covid-19 infection, has been training without limitations since Monday and may have direct entry to the eleven in Friday’s classic with FC Porto, CM learned.
The midfielder, despite the ten days of quarantine at home, has given Jorge Jesus good indications, although he acknowledges that it will take more time for the player to reach the physical indices identical to those he had before the infection. Still, the Benfica coach does not rule out the possibility of betting on the 27-year-old for the important game of the Liga no Dragão.
Today, in the final training session before the duel with FC Porto – Benfica always does a muscle activation session on the morning of the game -, the coach will have a more concrete idea of whether or not he will launch Gabriel in the game. If this scenario occurs, the midfielder will pair with Julian Weigl, and the German will play in a more backward position in the midfield.
If the Brazilian’s entry in the starting eleven is confirmed, Pizzi will be able to advance in the field and play in support of the most advanced man in the field: Uruguayan Darwin Núñez.
Jorge Jesus has had several days to prepare for the game with FC Porto (Friday, 9 pm, Sport TV1). With the recovery of Gabriel (Cervi is also available), the coach has been finalizing the strategy to leave Porto with a positive result. Not even the encounter with Estela da Amadora, for the Portuguese Cup, hindered the preparation for the meeting. Jesus rested all the usual players, giving Weigl, Grimaldo and Waldschmidt just a few minutes of play.
Only the midfield can cause any doubt to Jesus. Otherwise, there will be no major changes, except for a last minute unforeseen event.
Central Todibo impresses
Todibo’s debut for Benfica against E. Amadora pleased Jesus, CM learned. The technician liked the security and the attitude of the central. Still, the Frenchman, who belongs to Barcelona, should leave Luz by the end of the month.
Godinho bisa in Classics
The Arbitration Council appointed Luís Godinho for the game between FC Porto and Benfica. The referee of Évora has already whistled this season Sporting – FC Porto (2-2), from the fourth round of the League. Hugo Miguel will be the VAR at Dragão.
Preparation starts with five absent
FC Porto returned to training yesterday at Olival, with five absences. Marcano and Mbaye are still recovering from injuries, while Fábio Vieira, Manafá and Carraça continued in isolation due to Covid-19.
Mbemba ready to be on the side
Sérgio Conceição is considering using Mbemba as a right-back against Benfica, CM learned. In tomorrow’s classic, the Porto coach should not count on Manafá, who is on Friday the tenth day of isolation since he tested positive for Covid-19, on January 6th.
Nanú has started in the last two games, but is still inexperienced in challenges of maximum difficulty. Given the almost decisive character of the classic, Sérgio Conceição is inclined to bet on a more rounded element. In 2019/20, Mbemba played several games as a right-back, a position he already knew even before arriving at Dragão.
In addition, the presence of the Congolese will be an asset in the dead balls. In a game that is expected to be balanced, and eventually with few goal opportunities, Sérgio Conceição believes that FC Porto can make a difference in scoring a corner or direct free kick – the so-called tactical schemes in which the Porto players are strong and in which Benfica already demonstrated weaknesses.
Mbemba did not play in the victory (4-2 after extra time) with Nacional for the Portuguese Cup due to muscle fatigue, but he is fit. Going to the game as a full-back would make it possible to protect Corona, another chance for right-back. The Mexican finished the game in Madeira in physical difficulties and will be less cool for the ups and downs in the corridor.
Dragon is late in debt
FC Porto will receive a notice from UEFA for being late in delivering proof of outstanding debts, one of the mandatory requirements under financial fair play to participate in European events. It was the dragons’ communication director, Francisco J. Marques, who confirmed the situation.
Proof of unpaid debts should have been delivered by 15 September, but as the transfer market closed on 6 October delayed revenue entry, the dragons asked UEFA to fulfill that obligation three months later than the usual, until December 15th. The European football body acceded to the request of the Porto players, who will not be penalized, receiving only one warning.
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