Benfica vs Chelsea Preview March 27th

by Punter's Hero on March 27, 2012

in Football, Latest News

The quarterfinals of the European Champions League kickoff on March 27, when Benfica of Portugal hosts England’s Chelsea at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on March 27. Benfica manager Jorge Jesus said he hoped his team would end up playing Chelsea, and that could be his first mistake since hoping to play a specific team often backfires.

Benfica lost their grip on first place in the Portuguese League over the weekend when they were held to a 0-0 draw away at Olhanense. They’re now one point behind league-leading Porto. Chelsea also played to a 0-0 draw on the weekend when they drew Tottenham Hotspur at home. It hurt fifth-place Chelsea’s’ chances of finishing in the top four, which would guarantee them a berth in the qualification round for next year’s Champions League.

Jesus said he prefers to play against Chelsea simply because they’re an English side and he feels his club adapts better to English opponents. This was proven in the group stages when they drew Manchester United twice and helped dump them out of the tournament.

Benfica will be relying on Rodrigo and Oscar Cardozo to lead the way offensively as they’ve both been scoring goals on a regular basis so far this season. Cardozo leads the team in scoring in both the league and the Champions League. However, they may have to play the game without the services of midfielder Ezequiel Garay since he’s expected to miss the game with an injury.

Chelsea had done quite well since interim manager Roberto Di Matteo took over from Portugal’s Andre Villas-Boas, who was sacked recently. However, they blew a late 1-0 lead against Manchester City on last week and lost 2-1 and didn’t look too good against Spurs on the weekend. Di Matteo said his team might have to win their last eight English Premier League games if they hope to place in the top four. They’re five points behind Spurs at the moment. Of course, the only other way to make the Champions League next season would be to win it this year.

Benfica hasn’t lost at home in their past 10 European matches and they’re hoping to make it to the semi finals of the Champions League for the first time since back in 1990. In addition, Chelsea hasn’t won away from home yet in this season’s tournament. There’s no history between these two clubs as they’ve never met each other in a competitive match up until now. However Chelsea’s David Luiz and Ramires once played for Benfica.

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic was injured against City last week, but he’s expected to play. This should be an entertaining matchup since Benfica has a knack for scoring goals and Chelsea’s’ had a hard time defending lately. Look for Benfica to score a couple in the first leg and take a lead back to London with them.

William Hill shows the current odds of a Benfica win at 7/5 with a Chelsea victory and a draw both at 21/10.

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