Our prediction for this Europa League match:
All eyes will be on Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica when Benfica and Shakhtar Donetsk face each other in the Europa League last 32, return leg. Shakhtar Donetsk aim to defend their slim lead in the return leg, but this game will be anything but a walk in the park for the Minners. Despite failing to find the net in the 2-1 win over Benfica, Junior Moraes will be the man to watch in the away team.
The Eagles, on the other hand, are enjoying a very successful season, but the team’s current form is anything but brilliant. Anyhow, both teams to score bet should be considered as the hosts are likely to adopt an attack-minded approach in Thursday’s football match. A man to keep an eye on in the home side will be Carlos Vinicius, who is likely to be recalled to the starting XI.
Highlighted Player (Andreas Samaris):
Greece international midfielder Andreas Samaris began his career playing for Panachaiki before his spells with Panionios and Olympiakos. SL Benfica is the first international experience for the 27-year-old player who arrived in Portugal in 2014.
A full international since 2013, Samaris represented Greece at the 2014 FIFA World Cup during which he managed to make his presence known and earn a move abroad. Andreas Samaris operates as a central midfield but is capable of filling in defensive midfielder role. Greek international was the mainstay for Benfica during his first two seasons at the club managing 46 Primeira Liga appearances during the period. He also added 12 Champions League appearances.
Andreas Samaras helped Benfica win two Primeira Liga titles, two Taca da Liga trophies and one Super Cup. Greek international was the regular performer for his national team during the unsuccessful Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with ten games to his name.
Highlighted Team (Shakhtar):
Despite the fact that they were founded back in 1936, Shakhtar Donetsk were struggling to win the Ukrainian Premier League trophy until 2002. The Miners have established themselves as the dominant force in Ukrainian football and it has to be noted that they won their ninth domestic trophy in 2014.
Shakhtar Donetsk were playing at Donbass Arena in the past, but due to war in Donbass the club temporarily moved to Arena Lviv. In 2009 the Miners won the UEFA Cup trophy under Romanian boss Mircea Lucescu, beating Werder Bremen in the title game. Croatian full back Dario Srna was named the man of the match. Dynamo Kiev are considered Shakhtar Donetsk’s main rivals and there have always been fireworks in meetings between the two sides.
Shakhtar have a rivalry with Metalurh Donetsk as well and the two local rivals face each other in the Donetsk Derby. Chelsea ace Willian, Manchester United star Mkhitaryan and Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho all played for Shakhtar in the past.