Benfica vs Inter: Preview and Prediction
Benfica will host Inter in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final at Estádio da Luz, Lisbon. Surprisingly, the Portuguese side has been among the strongest teams in this edition of the UCL.
They were drawn into Group H with the likes of top European clubs such as Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. Nevertheless, they managed to top the group with four wins and two draws. Following the triumphing run, they thrashed Club Brugge in the Round of 16.
On the other hand, Inter’s 2022-23 campaign has been full of twists and turns. Initially, they found themselves in the group of death alongside Barcelona and Bayern Munich. In Matchday 3, we saw Simone Inzaghi’s side taking down Xavi Hernandez’s Blaugrana, the match eventually drew their fate.
Hence, they made it to the Round of 16, and they had Portuguese giants Porto as their next challenge. Sérgio Conceição’s side gave Inter a really hard time, however, they came short in the quest and had to head home.
In the Round of 16, Benfica squared off against Club Brugge. In the first leg, they took down the Belgian side 2-0 following a dominant display as visitors at the Jan Breydel Stadium. Benfica’s goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos was exceptional in the match as he didn’t let a single shot pass by him toward the goal.
Moreover, Nicolás Otamendi and António Silva stood in the defence as a wall. While João Mário and Gonçalo Ramos made numerous runs toward Club Brugge’s goal to gain dominance over the opposition. With João Mário’s spot kick and David Neres’ bottom corner strike, Benfica recorded a comfortable win in the first leg.
With the confidence gained in the first leg, Benfica hosted Club Brugge at their home stadium in Lisbon. However, the night ended in a very unfortunate fashion for the Belgian side.
David Neres, João Mário, Gonçalo Ramos, and Rafa Silva found the back of the net and thrashed Club Brugge with five goals. Club Brugge’s only goal came from Bjorn Meijer and they got eliminated with an aggregate score of 7-1.
Talking about the domestic leagues, Benfica is leading their way to the Portuguese league title. After the loss, Benfica still has a seven-point distance from second-placed Porto.
On the other hand, Inter’s Round of 16 challenge was Porto. In the first leg, Romelu Lukaku’s 86th-minute winner was the turning point of the match as the Belgian managed to capitalise on the rebound.
In the second leg, both sides played a goalless contest. Hence, the goal in the first leg decided the fate of Inter vs Porto. In the end, Simone Inzaghi’s Inter advanced to the quarter-final with an aggregate lead of 1-0.
In Serie A, Napoli has made a strong 16-point lead on the top. Hence, Inter is currently looking forward to securing Champions League football for the next season rather than winning the Scudetto.
Head to Head Record
Benfica and Inter have faced each other a total of four times. The Italian side has managed to record three wins in the four fixtures while one match was a draw. Hence, Benfica is yet to record a win against Inter and if they manage to do so, it will be written in the history books.
It’s really difficult to believe but Inter and Benfica have faced each other only once in the UEFA Champions League. Moreover, that happened long back ago in the 1964/65 final. In the fixture full of stars on both sides, Inter recorded a narrow with over their Portuguese rivals with a scoreline of 1-0.
Roger Schmidt’s team was in great form moving towards the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League against Inter. However, their perfect form has been wrecked by their arch-rivals FC Porto. Benfica recently locked horns against their biggest rivals and suffered a disheartening loss.
Julian Draxler, Alexander Bah, Goncalo Guedes, and Mihailo Ristic will be absent from the line-up. However, it seems like the German coach would look forward to making a few changes from the starting XI as Antonio Silva is also at risk of suspension.
Inter’s concern will be the injury of their star defender Milan Skriniar as he’s highly unlikely to be named in the playing side for the Benfica clash. The Slovak is still suffering from severe back issues.
However, Hakan Calhanoglu will most probably be back against the UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash as the Turk is getting close to full recovery. The former AC Inter suffered a strain to the adductor muscles in his right thigh during the 2024 Euro qualifying match against Croatia.
Predicted Starting XIs
Inter (3-5-2): Samir Handanović, Francesco Acerbi, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Alessandro Bastoni, Federico Dimarco, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcelo Brozović, Nicolò Barella, Matteo Darmian, Lautaro Martinez, Edin Dzeko
Benfica (4-2-3-1): Odysseas Vlachodimos, Álex Grimaldo, Nicolás Otamendi, António Silva, Chiquinho, Florentino Luís, Fredrik Aursnes, João Mário, Rafa Silva, Gonçalo Ramos
Inter as well as Benfica, both sides look really strong. Os Encarnados were in great form but their momentum has been wrecked by the league rivals. On the other side, Inter is having a hard time in domestic as well as European competition. Hence, the match is highly likely to end up as a draw.