BENFICA v ST. PETERSBURG – CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
February 16 2016, Estado da Luz, 19:45 GMT+0
Here it is, the first match of the last 16 teams in the most prestige league in the world, Champions league. This match will be played in Estado da Luz, where Benfica will host the Russians, St Petersburg.
St Petersburg had a excellent run in 2014/15 season in their domestic league, but this season it’s nothing like the last, as St Petersburg is on 6th place on the table. Even though the Russian Premier League is far from over, with 11 matches to go it seems as 7 points advantage of CSKA Moscow is close to impossible to catch up to.
Looking at group stage, Zenit advanced with ease, as they had 5 points advantage from 2nd placed team.
The fact, that Zenit is had little chance to prepare to this match due to their domestic league being “on hold”, the only chance to play some matches against Scandinavian teams. I might also point out that group H, where St. Petersburg dominated had no “real opponents”, with Valencia and Lyon playing very poorly this season, I do not find the Russians coming out of group stage as a great accomplishment.
As for the injury list Fayzulin, Ryazanstev and Malafeev are all sidelined for Zenit.
The Portuguese are coming into this match after a loss against Porto (1:2). But anyone who watched the game could agree the result was unfair for Benfica, as they surely deserved more. Prior to that loss, the “Eagles” won 11 consecutive matches. Looking at group stage of Champions league, Benfica finished 2 in Group C, right after Atletico Madrid. I think it’s fair to mention Benfica even managed to beat Atletico Madrid on the road (1:2).
As for missing players, Fejsa, Luisao and Lopez are all injured, whereas the striker Lisandro Lopez is fit after thigh injury.
In conclusion, Benfica seems as a stronger side in this match up, and an advantage of playing at home will surely help increase the odds of the home side wining this one.
Prediction: Benfica -0.5
Odds: 2.09 SBOBET