This evening’s (April 7th) clash at the Estadio da Luz sees Benfica and PSV Eindhoven meet in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.
Benfica, who boast the likes of Javier Saviola, Pablo Aimar, Luisao and Fabio Coentrao in their squad, are 1/2 favourites to progress to the semi-finals, leaving PSV priced at 15/4 to make it through to the last four.
Both teams are coming into the fixture off the back of a defeat in their most recent match, with Benfica having lost at home to Portuguese Liga leaders FC Porto and PSV going down to FC Twente.
However, only PSV have a chance of winning their domestic league, with Benfica’s title defence having already come to an end on the back of Porto’s dominance.
PSV are now two points behind defending champions Twente in the Eredivisie, while Benfica are languishing 16 points behind Porto in the Portuguese Liga with just five games to play.
That said, Benfica’s ailing domestic form should not necessarily be seen as a barometer for their chances in European competition as they have lost only one of their last 12 home European fixtures.
The Portuguese side are therefore priced at 7/10 to win the first leg, with PSV 15/4 outsiders.
Past history suggests the Portuguese team should have the edge over the course of the tie, with PSV yet to record a victory over Benfica inside 90 minutes.
The two teams’ three meetings so far have resulted in two draws – one of which, the 1988 European Cup final, ultimately ended in a PSV penalty shootout success – and a 2-1 win for Benfica in Portugal.
A successful £10 bet on Benfica to replicate this scoreline from the 1998/99 Champions League season and beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1 would return £85.
However, PSV coach Fred Rutten is confident his side can exploit what he sees as Benfica’s weakness – their defence.
“At home they attack a lot and sometimes they forget the defence, which is why they concede so many,” he commented.
With this in mind, PSV’s top scorer in the Europa League this season, Balazs Dzsudzsak, could be a good bet to grab a crucial away goal for the Dutch giants.
A £10 stake on Balazs Dzsudzsak to score for PSV against Benfica would return £30. New customers can register here to receive a £25 free bet.