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With a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Russia Benfica welcome Spartak Moscow on Tuesday to the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon in search of an uncomplicated way to the next stage of the Champions League.
Setbacks in the second half of Rafa Silva and Gilberto saw Jorge JesusThe men claim a healthy advantage from last Wednesday’s fight, with the winner of that competition going to play off against PSV Eindhoven or Midtjylland.
Prediction for this match
It took a while for Benfica to get going in front of the 2,900 spectators at the Otkritie Arena last Wednesday, but whatever Jorge Jesus said at halftime seemed to have a big impact as the Primeira Liga team struck twice to register a comfortable 2-0 win in the first leg.
Despite the loss of the target man Haris Seferovic After an early night injury, Rafa Silva took her own path in the 50th minute before substitute right-back Gilberto secured the win with 16 minutes left as Benfica made a giant leap towards the final hurdle.
Coming after an unbeaten pre-season was certainly a recipe for success for Benfica, who also opened their league season victoriously on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Moreirense, although they followed most of the second half with 10 men Diogo Goncalves‘s red card.
The hosts’ two away goals from the first leg may not have the same meaning as they did at this point last season, but apart from a catastrophic collapse on their own turf – where they have only lost one of their last 19 competitive games – a place in the playoffs – Round expect the regular players of the Champions League group stage for sure.
Rui Vitoria can be welcomed with open arms at Benfica this week after winning 125 of his 184 games as the club’s boss, but there won’t be room for sentimentality as the Spartak Moscow manager desperately tries to break a two-goal deficit in to overcome his old homeland.
Looking at the elimination in Europe, Spartak’s early fortune has hardly improved on the domestic front as Vitoria’s men suffered a 2-1 defeat in the league battle against Nizhny Novgorod on Saturday thanks to two goals from the defenders in the first half Aleksey Koslov and Kirill Gotsuk.
Ezequiel Ponce – back from a stint with Argentina at the Olympics – came off the bench five minutes from time to keep things interesting, but the damage was done by that point when Spartak suffered their second loss from three league games and they must urgently find inspiration from somewhere before Tuesday’s make-or-break tie.
Spartak have not advanced to the group stage in Europe’s most important competition since the 2017/18 season and it is worrying that they have not won any of their last eight Champions League games away from home – a streak that goes back 2-1 to 1 -Success over Zilina in 2010.
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Benfica striker Seferovic is expected to be sidelined for up to three weeks after sustaining a calf injury in the first leg and takes his place next to his fellow striker in the treatment room Darwin Nunez as he is recovering from knee surgery.
Goncalves ‘red card at the weekend means nothing to this fight but Gilberto has done far better on this side over the past week and could be one of several changes on the hosts’ side.
People like Rafa Silva, Pizza, Alejandro Grimaldo and Julian Weigl should all return after being benched for beating Moreirense, while it could also make a debut for Roman Yaremchuk above.
Spartak has also recently suffered serious injury with the former Chelsea man Viktor Moses on the weekend after 36 minutes, and his participation here is seriously questioned.
goalkeeper Alexander Selikhov (Finger) and defender Pavel Maslov (Hip) are also missing from the visitors who could now decide to hand over a Start Up Front to Ponce Alexander Sobolev.
Selimkhan Bakaev should replace Moses in the last third while midfielder Roman Zobnin could play in midfield on the side Alex Krali.
Benfica possible starting line-up:
Vlachodimos; Otamendi, Verissimo, Vertonghen; Gilberto, Weigl, Mario, Grimaldo; Silva, pizza; Yaremchuk
Spartak Moscow possible starting line-up:
Maksimenko; Raaskazov, Dzhikiya, Gigot, Lucas; Kraal, zobnin; Bakaev, Larsson, Mirzov; Ponce
Probability: Benfica 2-1 Spartak Moscow (Benfica wins 4-1 in the overall standings)
Expect Spartak Moscow to demonstrate more attacking advantage in the second leg as Vitoria seek revenge on their former club, which has already demonstrated its European ancestry.
Yaremchuk are under pressure to emulate Seferovic for the hosts, but boosted by an excellent record at home, we can only support Benfica to advance comfortably.
Best betting tip for this match
Our expert tipster partners at footpredictions.com forecast less than 3.5 goals in this game. Click here to see more football predictions to see what else they are predicting for this game and for more proven soccer tips.Under 3.5: data