Seeking to pick up a fourth consecutive home victory, Sporting Lisbon go head to head with Marseille at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Group D of the Champions League on Wednesday.
The Ligue 1 outfit finally got their European campaign underway last week when they comfortably edged out Ruben Amorim‘s side on home turf and will be looking to continue in the same vein.
Sporting Lisbon made it two victories from two in the Portuguese Primeira Liga as they brushed aside Santa Clara 2-1 when the sides squared off at the Estadio de Sao Miguel last Saturday.
Hidemasa Morita struck shortly before the hour mark to hand the visitors a first-half lead and after Nuno Santos doubled the lead on the 90th-minute mark, substitute Kyosuke Tagawa grabbed a consolation in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Sporting Lisbon have now picked up five wins, one draw and lost three of their nine league games to collect 16 points and sit fifth in the Primeira Liga standings, level on points with sixth-placed Boavista.
The Leoes now turn their attention to the Champions League, where they fell to a disappointing 4-1 defeat against Marseille in the first of their two group-stage encounters, with Alexis Sanchez, Amine Harit, Leonardo Balerdi and Chancel Mbemba all scoring to complete a remarkable comeback.
Amorim’s men have now picked up six points from a possible nine — thanks to victories over Eintracht Frankfurt and Tottenham Hotspur in their opening two outings — and currently boasts a two-point lead at the top of Group D.
Elsewhere, Marseille were denied a third consecutive victory last weekend as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Ajaccio when the sides squared off at the Stade Velodrome.
After falling behind to Dimitri Payet‘s 15th-minute penalty, Bevic Moussiti Oko netted five minutes later to restore parity before Balerdi inadvertently scored an own goal to hand the visitors their second win of the season.
Prior to that, Igor Tudor‘s side claimed a 3-0 victory over Angers on September 30 to end their two-game winless run, before cruising to a 4-1 victory over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League four days later.
After a slow start to their European campaign, Marseille are currently rooted to the bottom of Group D with three points from their opening three games, but could potentially rise as high as second place with all three points on Wednesday.
The French outfit will fancy their chances of picking up back-to-back Champions League victories as they square off against an opposing side who are winless in the three encounters between the teams, losing twice and claiming one draw since July 2017.
Marseille, who are currently third in the Ligue 1 table, head into the midweek clash unbeaten in four of their five away games across all competitions this season, claiming three wins and one draw — with a 2-0 loss to Tottenham on September 7 being the only exception.
Sporting Lisbon will take to Wednesday’s clash without first-choice goalkeeper Antonio Adan, who is currently suspended after receiving an early bath in last week’s defeat against Marseille.
In his absence, Uruguayan stopper Franco Israel will come into the fold for just his second appearance since his summer move from Juventus and should stand behind the back three of Matheus Reis, Goncalo Inacio and Jeremiah St. Juste.
On the injury front, Amorim will be unable to call upon the services of Daniel Braganca and Neto, who are currently recuperating from knee injuries, while Jovane Cabral has been sidelined since June through a thigh problem.
Another name on the Leoes’ injury list is Pedro Porro, who is set to sit out his fourth consecutive game after coming off with a knee issue against Boavista on September 17.
As for Marseille, Sead Kolasinac sustained an injury while in action for Bosnia-Herzegovina during September’s international break and the former Arsenal defender is out of contention for the trip to the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
France international Jonathan Clauss was forced off with a muscle injury midway through the first half in last week’s game against Sporting Lisbon, while Matteo Guendouzi is a doubt after missing the game against Ajaccio at the weekend.
Payet got off the mark for the season with his strike against Ajaccio last time out and the 35-year-old forward should be rewarded with his second Champions League appearance, teaming up with Sanchez and Cengiz Under in the final third.
Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Israel; Reis, Inacio, Juste; Porro, Ugarte, Alexandropoulos, Santos; Paulinho, Trincao, Goncalves
Marseille possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Balerdi, Bailly, Gigot; Kabore, Guendouzi, Rongier, Gerson; Payet, Under, Sanchez
While Marseille will be looking to boost their hopes of a place in the knockout stages with successive victories, they face a Sporting Lisbon side who are on a fine run of form in front of their home fans. We predict that the Primeira Liga side, who have won their last three home matches, will build on last weekend’s result over Santa Clara and claim a slender victory.
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