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Marseille vs. Benfica: Preview, Prediction & Betting Tips

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Olympique Marseille

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    Benfica

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      Overview

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            Marseille vs. Benfica: Preview, Prediction & Betting Tips

            The stage is set for an enthralling encounter in the Europa League as Olympique de Marseille prepares to host S.L. Benfica at the Stade Vélodrome for the quarter-final second leg this Thursday. With Marseille trailing by just a single goal following a 2-1 defeat in Lisbon, the fixture is poised on a knife-edge. Both clubs, storied in their own rights but facing distinct challenges this season, find themselves in a position where European success could redeem otherwise tumultuous campaigns.

            Date: 18/04/2024

            Kick-off time: 20:00

            Location: Stade Vélodrome

            Olympique de Marseille, a club synonymous with passion both on and off the pitch, find themselves in a familiarly precarious situation. Placed 8th in Ligue 1 with 39 points, the French outfit have endured a season mired in internal discord and inconsistent performances. This instability is not a new narrative for Marseille; it seems almost woven into the fabric of the club's identity over recent years.

            The first leg in Lisbon exposed both the frailties and resilience of Jean-Louis Gasset’s team. Falling 2-0 behind to goals from Rafa Silva and Ángel Di María, Marseille looked set for a harrowing evening. The Portuguese hosts, driven by their attacking prowess, missed a golden opportunity to put the tie seemingly beyond reach, a miss that could prove pivotal in the grand scheme. Yet, in typical Marseille fashion, a glimmer of hope was ignited by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose goal 20 minutes from time keeps their European dreams alive. As they prepare for the second leg, the memories of past near-misses in this competition—the 1999, 2004, and 2018 finals—loom in the backdrop, adding a layer of emotional intensity to their pursuit of the title.

            Benfica's season mirrors that of a fallen giant struggling to rise. Positioned second in the Primeira Liga with 67 points, they trail leaders Sporting CP by a considerable margin, effectively sidelining their domestic title aspirations. Their early exit from the Champions League group stage has further compounded the sense of a season derailing. Thus, the Europa League presents itself as a salvageable avenue, a potential saving grace to an underwhelming year.

            The Lisbon giants, however, are not strangers to European pressure. With a history decorated with two European Cups, their pedigree on the continental stage is undeniable, yet the Europa League remains a conspicuous void in their trophy cabinet. The first-leg victory showcased Benfica's capability to control games and their frustration at not converting dominance into a more substantial lead. This slight door left ajar for Marseille could spell either redemption or regret for Benfica, making the upcoming second leg a test of nerve and resolve.

            The tactical battle between Jean-Louis Gasset and his counterpart will be crucial. Marseille, likely to adopt an aggressive approach at home, needs to balance their offensive ambitions with defensive solidity. The key for Marseille will be how effectively they can harness the attacking verve of Aubameyang while shoring up a backline that showed vulnerabilities in the first leg.

            For Benfica, the focus will be on exploiting the spaces left by an advancing Marseille side. Rafa Silva and Ángel Di María, instrumental in the first leg, will once again be pivotal in orchestrating Benfica’s attacks, while young midfielder João Neves will no doubt have a huge part to play. Their ability to deliver in critical moments could potentially seal the tie for the Portuguese club.

            Beyond tactics, the psychological dimension of this fixture cannot be overstated. For Marseille, the imperative is clear: overturn a one-goal deficit and keep their European journey alive. The weight of past finals looms large, and how they manage this pressure could define their campaign.

            Conversely, Benfica must contend with the dual pressure of expectation and opportunity. As their domestic prospects dwindle, the Europa League represents a chance to redefine a season that could otherwise be remembered for disappointment. The challenge will be to maintain composure and assertiveness away from home, qualities that will determine their fate in this competition.

            Draw

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            Draw @ 13/5
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            Both Teams To Score

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            A Goal In Both Halves

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            Yes @ 8/13
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            Team News

            Marseille Team News:

            Michael Murillo, Bilal Nadir, Valentin Rongier and Pedro Ruiz are all set to miss out for Marseille once again.

            If there are to be changes to the starting lineup then Iliman Ndiaye and Azzedine Ounahi are the likeliest candidates to be brought into the XI, but with his side having had a full week break Jean-Louis Gasset is not likely to make too many changes.

            Benfica Team News:

            The Portuguese side are coming into this game without the services of Juan Bernat, who is a long-term absentee for Benfica.

            Otherwise, they have a fully fit squad to choose from here and could show faith with the XI that started the win last week.

            Form Guide

            Marseille are woefully out of form as the French outfit come into this game off the back of five consecutive losses. The defeat at Benfica last week followed a 3-1 loss in Lille, a 0-2 defeat to PSG, a 2-0 loss in Rennes and a 3-1 loss at Villarreal.

            Top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is at least in decent form, as he enters this tie with two goals in his last two games.

            While Marseille's overall form is very poor, they've remained strong when playing in front of their own fans having won four of their last games on their own patch.

            Benfica are entering this game in pretty decent shape having won three, drawn one and lost one of their last five games. The win over Marseille last time out was preceded by a painful 2-1 defeat away at Sporting CP in which they conceded a stoppage-time equaliser.

            Before that, goals from Nicolás Otamendi and Rafa Silva saw them claim a 2-2 draw with (again) Sporting CP in the Taça de Portugal, a result that followed a 1-0 win over Chaves and a 1-0 win over Casa Pia.

            When playing away from home, Benfica have been a mixed bag, with the Portuguese giants having won two and lost three of their last five games on the road.

            Footy Accumulators Prediction

            This is a tough one to call as both sides have made a habit out of inconsistency and unpredictabilty this season. Ultimately, one thing can (fairly) safely assume is that we'll get goals, and while Benfica are slightly the better side Marseille's home advantage should level things out a bit, but not quite enough for them to swing the tie in their favour. Marseille 2-2 Benfica.

            Don’t forget to check out the rest of our previews, tips and offers for this weekend’s action. Footy Accumulators is the #1 football betting site for the latest on betting in the UK - download the Betting Hub app for more!

            Header logoLigue 1

            PosClubPWDLGDPTS
            7
            Team logoLens
            3414911+851
            8
            Team logoMarseille
            34131110+1150
            9
            Team logoReims
            3413813-547
            Last updated 22/05/2024

            Header logoPrimeira Liga

            PosClubPWDLGDPTS
            1
            Team logoSporting
            342932+6790
            2
            Team logoBenfica
            342554+4980
            3
            Team logoPorto
            342266+3672
            Last updated 22/05/2024

            Where To Watch

            This game will be aired live to all subscribed U.K. viewers in the TNT Sports red button feature.

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