Our Felix Hassler has a preview of the Europa League final and expects Benfica to end their recent European hoodoo.
Benfica and Sevilla meet in the final of the Europa League on Wednesday night with the Portuguese side a good bet to finally end their poor run in European finals.
Benfica have lost their last seven European finals – a run that stretches back to 1962 – including last year’s final against Chelsea but they can use those losses to provide extra motivation in Turin.
Jorge Jesus’ men have dominated domestically and look set to complete a treble when they play in the Portuguese cup final at the weekend. They won the league by seven points and only suffered two losses all season with them conceding just 18 goals across the 30 games played. They have been equally as impressive in Europe with their displays which culminated in keeping Juventus scoreless in the second leg of their semi-final in Turin.
Sevilla earned their place in the final in dramatic fashion. Having led 2-0 from the first leg in Seville, Unai Emery’s men went 3-0 down at Valencia, and were heading out of the competition. In the fourth minute of added time, Stephane Mbia scored with header to send them through on away goals. Considering the quality of players that they sold last summer and failed to replace, it has been a very impressive season for Sevilla to make the Europa final and finish in the top-six in La Liga.
Both sides will be missing key players through suspension. Jairo Samperio misses out for Sevilla whilst Benfica have a trio of key players suspended in Enzo Pérez, Eduardo Salvio and Lazar Marković. That will make things easier for Sevilla but Benfica have strength in depth.
Playing again in Turin will be another factor in the favour of Benfica as they will be more familiar with their surroundings and have the confidence of their semi-final performance against the Serie A champions. I expect to see a very hungry and attack minded Benfica side on Wednesday and rate them as having too much for Sevilla in what could turn out to be a comfortable win.
3 pts Benfica to beat Sevilla at 7/5 (BetVictor)
1 pt Benfica to win by two goals or more at 13/4 (bet365)