With the UEFA Champions League tournament moves on into the Round of 16 and the 1st Leg we have the Benfica (Sport Lisboa) who are 2nd in the EPL playing FC Zenit (6th in RFPL) with the game being played this Tuesday the 16th of February 2016 with the game being played at the Estadio da Luz in Lisboa, Portugal with the sick-off at 2:45 PM ET and this stadium has a seating capacity of 65,645.
For those that Bet on Soccer at a sportsbook the early odds have the Benfica team are favored at +110 with the Total Over at 2-135 and the Under at 2 +115, and on the goal line -1/2 + 110 while the Zenit team is at +285 and on the goal line +1/2 -130.
This season the Zenit team has been a surprise to fans in this 2015-16 UEFA Champions League as the Russian Champs went through their own group and won a spot to their 3rd trip to the UEFA knockout rounds. Yes, they will face Benfica the Portuguese Champs who will host this game at their Estadio de Luz for the Round 16 – 1st Leg.
For the fans of the Portuguese Champions team Benfica you know your team lost some of their momentum this past Friday as they lost to Porto. Thus the Eagles (Benfica) previously in their ultimate 10 games were without a loss with 9 wins and a draw. Another game they lost was to Atletico Madrid in their ultimate Champions League home game 2-1 which lowered them to the Group C – 2nd spot.
Even with those results they still are a much respected team when playing at their Estadio de Luz, and furthermore the last 2 home games in this Champions League they won beating Astana FC and Galatasaray SK, and also scored some 35 goals in their 11 home games in their Portuguese League this season.
The star for Benfica in the Group Stages has been N. Gaitan in which he has 1 assist and 3 goals, and they need their midfielder from Argentina to again be on the attack in this game to provide assist to the teams strikers in Mitroglou and Jonas who have combined for 38 goals this season in the Champions League.
The team is confident that Gaitan will be able to provide the assists required as he was the player of the game in their biggest win in the group over Atletico. In the previous 2 leg meetings with Zenit, the Benfica team was victorious back in the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League round of 16.
The fans of Zenit of St. Petersburg you know your team has been playing very impressively in the Group Stages winning their 1st -5 games and secured a spot in the knockout round. In that group stage they had easy games against 2 teams that were struggling with the French team Lyon and Spanish team Valencia. That was advantageous, but now they have the problem that they had those easy wins coming into this always difficult 1st Leg. Their loss to Gent of Belgium their ultimate game because of the 3 month break for winter in the Russian League.
This Russian Zenit team has some terrific players who can lead them in these games in their superstar Hulk of Brazil whom had 4 assists and scored 3 goals in 5 group games, plus A. Witsel formerly of Benfica who is an outstanding midfielder in the center, and A. Dryuba who has scored in their ultimate 6 games 6 times which ranks him 3rd in this tournaments charts for scoring. The manager for Zenit, A. Villas-Boas has a lot of experience in this tournament since he let FC Porto in 2011 to the Europa League Title, and has the technical and tactical knowledge to keep his team prepared in all instances. His team in their last 6 Group stage games they only allowed opponents to score 6 goals. What can make a difference in this game with Benfica is the power and pace of their super star Hulk whom is a great weapon on the attack and can come up with a much need goal in this away game. Remember that this Zenit team last year in the group stage of the Champions League the won both the home and away game over Benfica.
This will be another 1st Leg game between Zenit and Benfica at they play to a draw in this match.