Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Stadion Maksimir will host Thursday’s football game between Dinamo Zagreb and Benfica, who face each other in the Europa League last 16, first leg. Dinamo Zagreb managed to overcome a deficit in the tie against Viktoria Plzen, with the team rolling over the Czech side in front of home fans, whilst Benfica eliminated Turkish side Galatasaray in the double-header. The Eagles are more of a team than the Croatian champions, but seeing that the hosts are undefeated in previous seven games at their Stadion Maksimir in the Europa League, away win should not be considered. A close encounter is on the cards and, taking everything into account, we predict that the two teams are going to share the spoils in the capital of Croatia in the first leg of the Europa League last 16. In their last meeting in the Europa League Benfica defeated Dinamo Zagreb 2-0.
Highlighted Player (Kévin Théophile-Catherine):
Born in Saint-Brieuc, France, on October 28, 1989, Kevin Theophile-Catherine is a defender who plays for Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb. Theophile-Catherine started his youth career at Rennes and he continued playing for les Rouges et Noirs at senior level.
After scoring two goals in 98 appearances for the club from 2009 to 2013, he moved to Cardiff City in the 2013/2014 season, signing a four-year contract with the Bluebirds. After ending his loan spell with Saint-Etienne, he signed a permanent deal with les Verts in 2015 for a fee of £1.5 million.
The Dinamo Zagreb footballer has one cap with France U21 team, while making four appearances for the U20 team. His main position is centre-back, but he is capable of playing as both right and left back as well. His preferred foot is right and his contract with Dinamo Zagreb should expire on June 30, 2020. Theophile-Catherine made his debut for Dinamo Zagreb in a 2-1 win over Osijek on August 17, 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.