Benfica vs Galatasaray Europa League Predictions

Europa League Benfica vs Galatasaray
Benfica vs Galatasaray Europa League

The match is over.
Score: 0-0.

Benfica hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg of their Europa League encounter with Turkish giants Galatasaray.

Predictions

Two crucial away goals – from Eduardo Salvio and Haris Sefarovic, either side of Christian Luyindama’s equaliser – gave Benfica a much-needed advantage over Galatasaray as the tie heads for Lisbon.

Benfica’s home record is superlative – the only game they’ve lost at the Estadio da Luz since mid-November was a Portuguese cup tie against domestic rivals Porto, and their last league game ended in a 10-0 humiliation of Nacional.

Gala’s last away defeat came at the beginning of December, and on Sunday they went to Kasimpasa and won 4-1, with Sofiane Feghouli bagging a hat-trick. Fatih Terim’s side have goals in them, but matching Benfica’s two away strikes might be too tall an order.

Indeed, their 14 goals in 11 away league games this season doesn’t suggest they’ll be able to plunder two or more against a team the quality of Benfica, but Gala do have the advantage of going to Portugal with nothing to lose.

Benfica shouldn’t play with any fear either, having already proven to the bookies they can beat Gala. A number of results will do for the home team, but setting out to play for a draw would be a mistake and one they’re not likely to make.

They’ll probably need a goal, however, and if the second leg ended in a draw that wouldn’t be a huge surprise. 1-1 could be on the cards.

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Betting Tips

A score draw would suit Benfica perfectly, preserving their strong home record and ensuring a place in the competition’s next round. They haven’t drawn a game at home since a 1-1 tie with Ajax in November, so if anything, they’re about due.

Feghouli’s weekend treble makes him the man to watch, and while the Algeria international isn’t prolific, he is on a hot streak. Feghouli to score anytime is 5/1 at 10Bet.

Statistics

Head to Head

Last week’s Benfica win was the first time the teams had met since 2015, when they shared 2-1 wins in the Champions League group stage.

Stats

  • Despite losing 2-1, Gala had the lion’s share of the first leg – taking 62% of possession over the 90 minutes.
  • Gala also registered more shots than Benfica, but only got two on target compared to Benfica’s four.
  • There were 26 fouls in the first leg, with Gala committing 14 of them to Benfica’s 12, in the eyes of Spanish official Jesus Gil Manzano at least.
  • Gala didn’t include a Turk in their starting XI for the first leg – but did have five of them on the bench. Benfica, by contrast, named six Portuguese in their starting XI, and another two among the substitutes.
By:Sam Watt

Football manager is my life, but have taken up writing to help put all that knowledge playing the game to good use. Follow me for all things European football and gain unexpected knowledge about players and teams you didn't know before. When not playing football manager, I take a break to play with my Sunday League team.

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