Europa Preview: Lage Says He Does Not Give Up on Any Competition, Silas Admits Changes, Conceicao Hopes to Expose Bayer Weaknesses

It was a rough Wednesday with SC Braga getting eliminated by Rangers at home 4-2 on aggregate.

Today, Portugal gets three more chances as Benfica, Sporting CP, and FC Porto all play.

Benfica takes on Shakhtar and their Portuguese manager Luis Castro. The Ukrainians won the first leg 2-1 at home, but Benfica got the important away goal.

Bruno Lage has only won 5 of 13 matches in Europe compared to his strong success domestically.

But, the team has not lost at home in Europa since 2008, so they have history on their side as they seek to turn a negative 1st leg result into a positive 2nd leg.

Lage was asked in the match preview with media if he prioritizes competitions, but he made it clear the next match is the most important and to always play better. He says he decides his XI depending on the situation and takes into account all factors.

Benfica has struggled of late losing six points in a short time in Liga, but a win tonight would bring back some excitement.

45,000+ are expected in the Luz.

Probable XI: Vlachodimos, Tomas Tavares, Ruben Dias, Ferro, Grimaldo, Pizzi, Weigl, Samaris, Rafa, Taarabt, Seferfovic

Sporting CP is in Istanbul tonight to play Basaksehir and own a 3-1 advantage. Mathieu is out, while Silas decided not to take Neto on the trip.

Silas has admitted changes to the XI as he seeks to find the right balance between rested players tonight and having enough rested for the Liga match next Tuesday.

Sporting is beginning life without Bruno Fernandes and must make up his offense. Sporar, who is one of the top scorers this season in Europa, is the one that can help in that role.

Historically, Sporting has played three European matches in Turkey – all draws.

According to A Bola, Portuguese teams have advanced to the next round 11 times out of 13 when they win the first leg 3-1.

Probable: Maximiamo, Ristovski, Ilori, Acuna, Coates, Wendel, Battaglia, Bolasie, Vietto, Plata, Sporar

FC Porto host the Germans Bayer Leverkusen tonight at home down 2-1 but got the away goal to give themselves a big chance.

Vitor Ferreira is the lone player for Sergio Conceicao unavailable due to injury. Pepe, who turned 37 yesterday, is available and every single drop of his European experience will be needed if he is selected in the XI.

At the press match preview, Conceicao would not hint on how he would play or if someone like Danilo will get into the XI.

Conceicao is a big admirer of Bundesliga and is quite familiar with German football.

He said Leverkusen is aggressive and is good at regaining possession. They have plenty of strengths but also have some weaknesses and the goal is to expose them.

Telles has been a force offensively this season scoring eight goals for Porto. Marega and Soares are expected to partner up front as the best eleven will likely play.

Probable: Marchesin, Corona, Mbemba, Marcano, Telles, Otavio, Sergio Oliveira, Uribe, Luis Diaz, Marega, Soares

 

 

 

Author: Administrator