Match Preview – Benfica (Away)

Spurs must overcome a two goal deficit in Portugal as they look to bounce back against Benfica in the Europa League last-16 leg. The disappointing 3-1 home result against the Portuguese league leaders spelt disaster for Spurs in the return leg.

Tottenham have played eleven games against Portuguese sides in UEFA competition, with the record W7 D1 L3 (W5 D0 L1 at home). Benfica have played 33 games against English clubs in UEFA competition, prior to the first leg, most recently last season’s UEFA Europa League final in Amsterdam, which they lost 2-1 to Chelsea FC. Their record in those games is W11 D5 L17. Spurs were unbeaten in 11 European home games (W9 D2) since a 2-1 loss to PAOK FC in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League group stage, but Benfica managed to smash the record.

Spurs beat FC Internazionale Milano on away goals at this stage of last season’s UEFA Europa League to reach the quarter-finals, where they lost out to FC Basel on penalties. After entering the round of 32 from the UEFA Champions League group stage, Benfica are aiming to reach the final for the second successive season. Tottenham (1972, 1984) are one of six previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League winners left in the competition along with Sevilla (2006, 2007), Valencia CF (2004), SSC Napoli (1989), FC Porto (2003, 2011) and Juventus (1977, 1990, 1993).

Tottenham have the injury list of all injury lists heading into the game. Adebayor (knee), Paulinho (knock), Walker (groin), Kaboul (thigh) & Vertonghen (susp) are new absentees for Benfica game. Chiriches (back), Lamela (thigh/calf), Dawson (hamstring), Dembele (calf) & Capoue (ankle) still out, whilst Danny Rose is a doubt. Tottenham have travelled with numerous youngsters to cope with this, including, McQueen (RB/CB), Ball (CB), Veljkovic (CB/CM), Winks (CM), Onomah (CAM), Ogilvie (CB/LB) and McGee (GK).

Predicted team: Friedel, Naughton, Sandro, Fryers, Rose, Townsend, Sigurdsson, Bentaleb, Chadli, Soldado, Kane.

Predicted score: Benfica 2-0 Spurs

This isn’t going to be pretty.

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