Our prediction for this Champions League match:
Zenit and Benfica face each other at Saint-Petersburg Stadium in what is expected to be one of the most exciting games of Wednesday’s program. The Zenitchiki did well to hold Olympique Lyon to a draw at Groupama Stadium in their opener and they are now on a quest to put an end to their four-game winless run in the elite competition.
The Russian Premier League club are tough to beat at home and given the fact that Benfica failed to impress in a 2-1 loss to Leipzig in the opening match of their Champions League campaign, we believe that there is a big value in betting on Sergei Semak’s men. The Eagles suffered back-to-back defeats to the likes of Ajax and Bayern Munchen in previous two away games in the elite competition, which is yet another reason why we believe that they are going to return to Lisbon empty-handed.
Highlighted Player (Yaroslav Rakitskiy):
Yaroslav Rakitskiy is a professional footballer who was born on 3 August, 1989. Rakitskiy made his Shakhtar Donetsk debut on 31 August, 2009 in a 3-1 win over Zorya. It has to be noted that he came as a substitute in the second half of the match.
The Ukrainian footballer who plays as both centre and a left back, made 24 league appearances for the club in the 2009/2010 season and he has been playing for the Miners ever since. Rakitskiy made his Ukraine debut on 10 October, 2009 in a 1-0 win over England in a World Cup qualifying match. Just four days later he scored his first goal for the Ukrainian national team, finding the net in a thrilling 6-0 victory over Andorra.
Yaroslav made two appearances for Ukraine at the 2016 European Championship finals in France, in the opener against Germany (0-2) and in a 2-0 loss to Northern Ireland. His contract with Shakhtar Donetsk expires on 30 June, 2018.
Highlighted Team (Benfica):
Member of the ‘Big Three’ clubs in Portugal alongside FC Porto and CP Sporting, Sport Lisboa e Benfica are the football club that has never been relegated from the Primeira Liga. The club is nicknamed Aguias because of the Eagle symbol atop the club’s crest. Benfica play their home games at the Estadio da Luz which replaced the original one in 2003 and which boasts the capacity of more than 64,000. Arguably the most successful club in Portugal, Benfica have won a record of 35 Primeira Liga titles and also a record 25 Taca de Liga and 7 Taca da Liga trophies.
Two-time European Cup winners, Benfica are the club known for their diligent work with youth players, many of which went on to make great careers abroad. The most prominent players to wear a Benfica shirt are legendary Eusebio, Manuel Bento, Jorge Tavares and most recently Javier Saviola, Nuno Gomes, David Luiz and Angel Di Maria.