Our match prediction:
Despite impressing in the group stage, Zenit were unable to match Benfica in the first leg, having been completely outclassed before conceding the late goal, as the lack of competitive action had clearly left a negative effect on the team. Andre Villas-Boas’ men should look much sharper after two matches on domestic stage, although it is evident the team are still far from the desired form. That could prove to be the problem now that their opponents not only won three matches in a row since the first encounter, but also revived their title hopes with a derby win over Sporting CP on the road. And even though Zenit are superior in terms of quality, this game comes at a bad time for them, while Benfica are on top of their game, so we predict that the Eagles will keep hold of the one-goal advantage and secure progress into the next stage.