Benfica vs PSG by Rostick
Benfica had a solid season so far, leading the domestic league, but they could not replicate their Liga Portugal form in the Champions League. Equal on points with Olympiakos in the standings (but losing the direct meetings), the hosts need to win against PSG and hope Anderlecht gains a point in Greece. The biggest problem for Benfica in this competition has been their offensive game. Usually their main strength, their attack was nowhere to be found in Champions League, Benfica scoring just 6 times in one of the highest scoring UCL groups. But, if we look closer, we can see that Benfica was a little goal-shy in the league too this season, or at least not all-out attack like they used to be. 22 goals in 12 games against mostly poor opposition is not so impressive. Benfica is on the back of a major upset, a 2-2 home draw with Arouca, after winning their previous four games in all competitions (one in extra-time).
PSG has been totally dominant in this group, winning all but one game (a fluke 1-1 home draw with Anderlecht) and posting a goal difference of 15-3. Ibrahimovic has been sensational with 8 goals and he is tied with Ronaldo for the no.1 spot in the goalscoring charts. The swede could be rested today by Laurent Blanc, with PSG having assured qualification from the first place. The french side is in great form and has been one of the top sides in Europe this season in both the Champions League and the domestic competition.
Team news & lineups
Benfica will miss instrumental striker Oscar Cardozo, a huge blow for the portugese side. Besides him, the hosts will have to do without fellow striker Ola John, midfielders Amorim and Salvio and defender Siqueira. Alex, Thiago Silva, Matuidi, Moura and most importantly Ibrahimovic may be rested by Laurent Blanc for this one. Veratti and van der Wiel are suspended.
Benfica : Artur – Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Silvio – Fejsa, Matiz – Gaitan, Perez, Markovic – Lima.
PSG : Sirigu – Jallet, Marquinhos, Camara, Digne – Rabiot, Motta, Pastore – Lavezzi, Cavani, Menez.
Surely both these sides love offensive football, with PSG particularly being a free-scoring side, and the french team won the previous meeting 3-0 at home. However, this game is more likely to finish with under 2.5 goals.
Benfica is desperate to qualify and will be extra-careful at the back, knowing that an all out attacking game against a team like PSG will almost surely mean a defeat. Expect a cautios, clever game for the hosts, they will try to keep a clean sheet and get that one goal to put them in a position to qualify. PSG could not be as dangerous up front as they usually are, resting a lot of players and having no motivation for this game. Benfica also misses some key attacking players like Cardozo and Amorim and they had trouble scoring in UCL, so you can expect them to have some problems in front of goal. PSG may be without Ibrahimovic, who scored more than half of their goals in this group. The absences surely will weight a lot in deciding the goal-scoring outcome of this game. My tip for this one is Benfica – PSG 1-0, and I will go with the under 2,5 goals bet at excellent odds.
|under 2,5||Marathonbet||2.05||8||2-1 LOST (-8 units)|
* Odds as of post published time and are subject to change.