Benfica v Zenit St Petersburg Tues 19:45
Benfica will be hoping to get back to winning ways this week with a Round of 16 victory over Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions League as Paddy Power make Jorge Jesus’s side odds on favourites to rise out of their slump with victory.
The Portuguese outfit have gone four matches without a victory and will need to overturn a deficit against the Russians if they hope to progress in this Champions League.
Benfica may have lost the first leg encounter 3-2 but managing to steal two away goals in the cold climates of Russia could prove very valuable in the long run as they look to net midweek.
Los Águias can take satisfaction in the fact that they are the best attacking side in the Primeira Liga when performing on home soil and this season, scoring an average of 3.09 goals per game when playing at the Estádio da Luz.
Jorge Jesus’ side currently sit second in the Portuguese top flight just three points away from leaders FC Porto.
The likes of Rodrigo, Axel Witsel and Nicolas Gaitan will need to be in their best form if Benfica are to turn around the 3-2 scoreline and progress in this season’s European competition.
One player that one feature this week is former Real Madrid midfielder, Ezequiel Garay, who is set to spend several weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Ezequiel Garay is still out injured while Pablo Aimar is suspended for the game, but other than that Jorge Jesus can field a similar side which lost in their crunch ‘El Classico’ to Porto last Friday night.
‘The Reds’ have shown against the likes of Basel and Manchester United in the group stage of the tournament that they are fully capable of performing in tight situations and must do so once more against hefty opposition.
Zenit will be hoping that Roman Shirokov, who netted a brace in the reverse leg, will replicate his perfomance once more this Tuesday but also that Aleksandr Kerzhakov is able maintain his scoring form.
The Russian international scored a brace of his own against CSKA Moscow over the weekend as the St. Petersburg club were unlucky not to come away with all three points.
Recent signing Andrei Arshavin is ineligible to play after featuring for Arsenal in the Champions League earlier in the season.
With the Russian Premier League back into full swing now, this Tuesday promises for an attacking encounter between two sides hoping to make it into the quarter final of the Champions League.