first team / Benfica - OL J-1

A great opportunity to be seized

Published on the 01 November 2010 à 19:15 by R.B

After their perfect run in the fist round of group stage matches, OL come to Lisbon looking for the point that could make them happy...Benfica have no choice if they want to qualify for the last 16 of the competition...

With 9 points from 9 and receiving Hapoel Tel-Aviv for the final group stage match, business seems pretty good for Lyon and they look to be heading for the last 16 for the eighth time in a row. Yes, but nothing is ever given in football. Without imagining that OL not defeat the Israeli club, group B could well finish with 3 teams on 12 points, if the "big three" all remain unbeaten at home and victorious in Israel. So it would be best to avoid fears after such a good start!

Considering that OL will beat Hapoel, OL would be missing one point to be assured of playing the last 16. A point in Lisbon or Germany ... Why not take it in the fantastic ground of Benfica? Attention, all observers have warned that this rematch would be much more complicated than the game played at Gerland. Benfica need a success to keep on believing. And OL will be handicapped on Tuesday night with the absences of Toulalan, Cissokho, Lisandro, Delgado, and maybe even Makoun and Bastos.

OL who have racked up matches played while Benfica have had a quieter time of it as far as efforts and level of opponents is concerned. Fatigue will, a priori, be on OL’s side. They will also need to choose a left-back. Will the youngster Kolo be the lucky player? It is a good bet that, once again, youth will be present in numbers in the group of 18.

Benfica have no choice. This Benfica side who have won their last 5 matches in league in a row and who have risen to 2nd place in the standings with a summit match against the leader Porto after this Champions League game. Benfica have never lost a home European match against a French club, but cannot settle for a draw as they did on four occasions in the 9 games. Jorge Jesus’s team was not inspired at Gerland, having, indeed, put in a great performance over the course of one half, and were ultimately defeated without creating a scoring opportunity! But with Aimar, Saviola, Coentrao, Luisao, Luiz ... the music can change completely.

OL know what to expect from this trip. And even if the president had spoken of a target of 6 victories after the first leg, it's a safe bet that everyone would be satisfied with the point of the draw, especially being handicapped by the absence of several key players. It would be time enough then to ensure a possible first place in the group ...

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