Champions League

Napoli v Benfica – Champions League

Napoli v Benfica

Napoli is hoping to continue their good performance in Champions league group stage. In the opening match, they were able to defeat Dynamo Kiev on the road (1:2) and are now sitting in the 1st position in group B. Looking at the teams they will face in group stage, the hardest opponent is without the doubt Benfica and they will have a chance to see them play today at San Paolo Stadium in Naples.

One of the main concerns many people had about Napoli, is how will they fare without their star striker Higuain, who left for Juventus. The opening match of Serie A only confirmed those speculations as Napoli failed to win over Pescara (2:2), but got right back up with 4 wins after that against AC Milan (4:2), Palermo (0:3), Bologna (3:1) and Chievo (2:0). As for now, Napoli has not lost a match this season and it’s a good trend to continue. At home Napoli is exceptionally good, the fact that they have not lost a match at Sao Paolo in 16 games or in other words, since 19.1.16 against Inter (0:2). Benfica must take that into consideration and they can expect a hard match.

Benfica is currently at the top of Portuguese league. Same as Napoli, they have yet to lose a match and are holding a record of 5W-1D-0D. Going into this match, they have got 4 consecutive wins in domestic league behind them and their confidence must be high. The opening match of Champions League was disappointing for them, as well as for their fans who watched the match at Estadio da Luiz. The match against Besiktas started great, as Benfica got an early lead with a goal in 12′. They were then able to withstand Bestikas attacks until the 90’+3, when Talisca scored a spectacular goal for the visiting team from the free-kick. Quite frankly, the match was not one sided at all and the goal was not surprising, only the fact that in happened in the dying moments of the match gives it a bitter taste.

Missing players:
Napoli; Chiriches, El Kaddouri (questionable)
Benfica; Jonas, Jimenez, Jardel (questionable), Rafa, Samaris, Danilo (questionable), Silva

VERDICT

As mentioned before Napoli is spectacular at the home pitch and will surely give a hard time for any visiting team. Their confidence is high as they are on a good way to advance out of the group stage, but a lot of it depends on their performance today. SO it’s safe to say this match is of a high importance for the Italians squad. On the other had we have got Benfica, who would like to get rid of the bitter taste from their mouth after a devastating equalizer in Lisbon. However I see Napoli as a stronger side, especially at Sao Paolo, so pick Napoli to win over the Portuguese visitors.

Prediction: Napoli -0.5
Odds: 1.70 Pinnacle

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