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Benfica vs Tottenham – Europa League March 20, 2014 Prediction and TV Schedule

Wikimedia - Paulo Franco

Benfica vs Tottenham preview

Benfica host Tottenham Hotspur at the Estadio Da Luz in Lisbon on Thursday, March 20, in the second leg of the Europa League Round of 16 tie. Last season’s competition finalists are defending a 3-1 lead from the first leg in London and are looking to finish the job at home. Tim Sherwood’s men though will try to spoil the Portuguese party and make up for a series of bad results in their recent matches.

Eagles flying high

Benfica showed their class in the first leg, exposing Spurs’ weaknesses and taking a healthy lead after a goal by Rodrigo and a brace from Luisao. Jorge Jesus’ men are undefeated in the last 25 games in all competitions, they have won ten consecutive European home games, and they have not experienced defeat at Da Luz in the last 41 matches in all competitions. The Eagles are flying high in the Portuguese league, where they lead the table by 7 points, and are on their way to a second Europa League final appearance, after losing the trophy last season to Chelsea.

Jesus has some problems for this match, with full-back Silvio suspended and attacking midfielder Nicolas Gaitan inured. Slovenian keeper Jan Oblak, who made his Europa League debut in the first leg should keep his place in goal, with regular Artur injured. Maxi Pereira (right) and Guilherme Siqueira (left) will play as full-backs, with Luisao and Ezequiel Garay forming the central defensive partnership. Ljubomir Fejsa and Ruben Amorim should start as defensive midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Eduardo Salvio (right) and Miralem Sulejmani (left) will play on the wings, while Filip Djuricic should start behind the lone striker Oscar Cardozo.

 Many problems for Spurs

Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood is under pressure after losing two consecutive London derbies in the Premier League against Chelsea and Arsenal, results that undermined their bid for Champions League qualification. Sherwood is being criticized by the press and many fans for his tactics, while he appeared nervous in the build-up to this match, declaring that he has lost all respect for Benfica after their manager’s antics during the first leg.

Sherwood must do with a makeshift lineup, especially in defense, where he is without any senior centre-back. Younes Kaboul, Vlad Chiriches and captain Michael Dawson are injured while Jan Vertonghen is suspended. Midfielder Sandro and full-back Zeki Fryers could form the central defensive partnership. Regular right-back Kyle Walker is out as well, so Kyle Naughton should take his place, with Danny Rose starting on the left. There are some problems in midfield too, with Ettiene Capoue, Paulinho and Moussa Dembele staying in London. Aaron Lennon should start in the right side of midfield and Andros Townsend on the left, while Nabil Bentaleb, Kristian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli and Gylfi Sigurdsson vying for the central midfield slots. In attack, Emmanuel Adebayor was left in London nursing a heel problem, so Roberto Soldado is certain to start, with Harry Kane as an alternative.

Benfica vs Tottenham Prediction

Benfica showed that they are the better team in the first leg and are favorites to win against a makeshift Spurs side. Tottenham will have a go though, because after all they have nothing to lose after the result at White Hart Lane. Possible score: 2-1.

Benfica vs Tottenham TV Schedule

The Benfica vs Tottenham match will be televised on FOX Sports 1 at 11:00 AM Pacific (USA).