May 27, 2022

Benfica pulled out of a group in which there were two European giants: an insatiable Bayern, against whom they conceded 2 heavy defeats, and a sick Barça, whom they subdued on the way to Portugal and hooked on returning to Catalonia. His 4 points against the Blaugrana propelled him to 2nd place, behind Bayern but ahead of Barça and Dynamo Kiev. This qualification is already a great satisfaction for the Portuguese club, which still hopes to surprise Europe. This is his last big game of the season. Eliminated from the Portuguese Cup and beaten in the final of the Portuguese League Cup by Sporting 2-1, the Lisbon people will not shine in the league either, unless the situation turns around. After their recent wins over Tondela 3-1 and Santa Clara 2-1, they couldn’t do better than a draw at Boavista on Friday 2-2. Which takes them a little further away from the title, they who are 3rd, 12 points behind Porto, leader. the final.

The Dutch club said in chicken that it has the qualities to surprise Europe once again. 6 games, 6 wins and a string of goals, 20 scored in total. In this pool, Ajax had dominated Besiktas, Borussia Dortmund and the other big club in Lisbon, Sporting beaten 5-1 in the last group match played in Portugal. Amsterdam’s form is still impressive as the round of 16 approaches. Sébastien Haller’s club has won its last 10 matches in all competitions, including 2 of the last 3 on river scores. He crushed Vitesse 5-0 to qualify for the semi-finals of the Dutch Cup and inflicted the same price on Twente 5-0 in the league, before winning more quietly this weekend on the lawn of Willem II 0-1. With 5 lengths ahead of its runner-up, Ajax is heading towards a new title of champion of the Netherlands.

On the side of Benfica, the frame defender Verissimo, who is nursing a serious injury, has been removed from the list for the C1 and should not reappear in competition before next season. Same case for the substitute striker Pinho while the usual starting striker Seferovic (5 goals) has not had the chance to play a string of games this season due to injuries. A new physical glitch will deprive him of this round of 16 first leg. Executive defender Andé Almeida is in the same situation. In the absence of Seferovic, Darwin Nuñez (23 goals including 3 in C1) has taken on another dimension this season. He has also scored in his 4 of his last 5 games. Benfica can count on the left side under Grimaldo, fully recovered from an injury. Europe only has eyes for Sébastien Haller.

The Ivorian striker amazed everyone during the group stage by scoring 10 goals, half of those of his team. The man with 28 goals in all competitions is the competition’s top scorer. He returned from the CAN in great shape and remained on 6 goals in 3 matches until the trip to Willem II during which he did not score. He is available unlike young Brobbey, who has scored 2 goals since his return this winter from an unsuccessful loan to Leipzig, and the long-time injured defender Klaiber (no match), and goalkeeper Stekelenburg. He had partly taken over when Onana was suspended for doping. But the Cameroonian, now available, has not recovered his starting place to the delight of veteran Pasveer, usual number 3 in the hierarchy. Substitute midfielder Labyad is also absent from this trip.

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