Benfica vs. Zenit: Champions League Betting Preview
Having edged a five-goal thriller in Russia thanks to Roman Shirokov’s late winner, the midfielder’s second on the night, Zenit hold the narrowest of advantages looking to book a place in the quarter-finals but the bookmakers favour the hosts to progress.
Benfica entered this last-16 tie in terrific form, having not lost a meaningful match since their Europa League semi-final defeat to Braga last May, however their reversal in St Petersburg started what is now a four-game winless run and Zenit are tipped to advance.
Having equalised through Oscar Cardozo in the 87th minute of the first leg, Benfica would have been very disappointed to see their hosts grab the winner and it is now three losses and a goalless draw inside the last month.
A 3-2 home defeat to Porto on the weekend in Portugal’s top-of-the-table clash was hardly ideal preparation and Zenit are unbeaten in their previous six Champions League matches.
Away draws in the group stage at Shakhtar Donetsk and also against Porto indicate they are more than equipped to secure at least the draw they need to qualify and Zenit have plenty of experience to call upon.
At odds on to win in 90 minutes, Benfica are proving friendless with punters and I see no reason not to oppose them either.
Zenit will look to hit them on the break and the visitors could just get the job done in style on what might prove a very frustrating night for the home team.
2pts Lay Benfica (vs. Zenit) @ 1.80 (Betfair)
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