Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Dinamo Zagreb will be looking to defend their slim lead in the tie against Benfica when the two teams face each other at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on Thursday evening. The Croatian champions proved their worth in the 1-0 win over the Portuguese side at Stadion Maksimir, but they will have a mountain to climb in the return leg if they are to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League. Over the years the Eagles have turned their stadium into a real fortress and it is no surprise they are considered hot favourites to win Thursday’s football match. Dinamo Zagreb are enjoying a season to remember, but avoiding defeat to Benfica in Lisbon is easier said than done. A man to watch in the home team will be Switzerland international Haris Seferovic, who has netted 19 goals in all competitions so far this season.
Highlighted Player (Gabriel Pires):
Gabriel Appelt Pires is a Brazilian footballer who play for Leganes in Spanish La Liga. Pires is a product of Vasco da Gama’s youth school, but he made his senior debut at Resende. In 2012 he signed for Juventus for a fee of €2 million, but he was immediately sent on loan to Pro Vercelli. After spending several seasons on loan at Pro Vercelli, Spezia, Pescara and Livorno he signed a loan deal with Leganes for the 2015/2016 Segunda Division campaign. The 183-cm-tall midfielder scored seven goals in 37 appearances for Leganes in the Spanish second tier and, as a result, the club chiefs decided to sign a permanent deal with him. Gabriel is an attacking midfielder, but he is capable of playing as a central midfielder as well. His brother Guilherme is a football player as well. Gabriel is a left-footed player, while his brother prefers playing with his right foot. They were born in Resende, Brazil.
Highlighted Team (Dinamo Zagreb):
Arguably the biggest club in Croatia and one of the most prominent football outfits in the Balkan region, Dinamo Zagreb have won 18 league titles, 11 of which came successively. Dinamo Zagreb have never been relegated to a lower tier of both Croatian and Yugoslav football. Modri as they are called in Croatia are renowned for their impressive production line of youth footballers. Their highly organised football academy has so far produced world-class players such as Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Marko Pjaca and many others. Dinamo Zagreb play their home matches at the Stadion Maksimir in front of 35,000 people. The club lacked support during the last couple of seasons due to fans’ disagreement with club management, most notably notorious Zdravko Mamic, who is under investigation for long-lasting corruption, tax evasion and embezzlement. For the first time since 2015, Dinamo Zagreb will have the full support of their most faithful supporters in the Champions League.