The UEFA Champions League kicks off this mid-week and we hope to add this mid-week football excitement to our calendars to keep us entertained every week.
Benfica travel away to Astana knowing that a victory here will settle their position to qualify to the 2nd stage of the Champions League; and nothing but that will be in the minds of the Benfica players tonight. Benfica managed to win 3 out of the 4 games played so far including going away to strong Atletico Madrid and winning 2-1 there. Benfica have relied on the scoring of midfielder Gaitan to provide the goals for him, netting 3 in the progress. Benfica also have a good attacking lineup including Jiménez, Guedes and Jonas up front with Talisca, Gaitan, Pizzi and Carcela giving great creative influence from midfield. Benfica have only had struggles not he defensive end where they have concede on average of a goal per game this season in all competitions; and will want to correct their efforts in this encounter to try and seal the win.
Astana are the young side in this competition and are almost sure of being eliminated in Europe. They have drawn 2 games and lost 2 games so far in this competition’s first round proper. They have conceded 8 goals in the 4 games played in this competition, while not scoring a goal in 3 out of the 4 games that they have played in this competition so far. Astana took on the same side Benfica and got beaten by a 2-0 scoreline; and things won’t look promising of them especially when strong Benfica come to town. The big advantage Astana have is the nearly 0 degree temperature on the artificial turf surface, but then again this is the Champions League and the pressures of playing and winning in this competition are completely different.
The Portuguese side are the favourites to win this contest, and should they win this, they could head into their last game against Atletico Madrid needing only a draw to top the group. I think Benfica will get their business done and ensure they progress to the next stages.
Juventus v Man City – BTTS @ 1.91 (Bet365) – 2.5 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)