Inter Milan vs Benfica preview
Watch Inter Milan vs Benfica Preview as Milan Hosts Benfica in the second leg of the quarter finals on the champions league at Stadio Giuseppe.
Nicolo Barella renowned for any sort of aerial prowess, but the midfielder nodded home from Alessandro Bastoni’s pinpoint delivery before Joao Mario was penalised for handball Romelu Lukaku duly converted from the spot to double Inter’s lead.
Knockout competitions have been Inter’s speciality this season, as Inzaghi‘s side also prepare to take on Derby d’Italia foes Juventus in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final later this month, but they have flattered to deceive in the top flight and went down 1-0 to regional rivals Monza at the weekend courtesy of Luca Caldirola’s late goal.
Taking just one point from their last five Serie A matches means that the Nerazzurri are playing catch-up in the top-four face sitting fifth in the rankings and two points adrift of fourth-placed AC Milan – who could await them in a tantalising European semi-final as they aim to complete their job against Napoli.
Each of the hosts’ last three matches at San Siro has now ended in a 1-0 defeat – although they have not conceded more than once at home since a 2-1 loss to Roma in early October – and the three-time continental champions have never been eliminated from a European Cup knockout tie after winning the first leg by at least two goals.
Team News and Injury
There was injury as well as insult for Inter in their lowly defeat to Monza, as centre-back Stefan de Vrij came off early in the second half with an ankle concern, but it is not yet clear how long the Dutchman may be sidelined for Francesco Acerbi should return here in any case.
De Vrij is joined in the infirmary by fellow defender Milan Skriniar, whose back injury will reportedly not heal in time for the second leg, but Inzaghi has no other concerns to factor in and was able to welcome Hakan Calhanoglu back from a thigh problem at the weekend.
Marcelo Brozovic is expected to keep Calhanoglu out of the team for the time being, though, while Lukaku is going in search of his 10th Champions League goal in Nerazzurri colours – only four players have previously hit that landmark for Inter – but the well-rested pairing of Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez could reform their attacking partnership.
While Inter are working without some experienced centre-backs, it is the opposite for Benfica, who will have Argentinian World Cup winner Nicolas Otamendi back from a ban served in the first leg; Morato is primed to drop out of the XI.
Midfielder Florentino is also available after missing the loss to Chaves through suspension, while Mihailo Ristic has shaken off a muscle problem, but Julian Draxler has not recovered from a similar concern. Right-back Alexander Bah is facing at least a few more weeks out with a knee injury too, so Gilberto continues in the Eagles’ backline.
No striker has made more pressures in the final third than Goncalo Ramos’s 299 for Benfica in the current Champions League campaign, and the 21-year-old is aiming to break a three-game goal drought at San Siro, having already netted 25 times in all tournaments this term.
Inter milan vs Benfica head-to-head stats
Inter Milan are unbeaten in all four of their matches against Benfica in all competitions and have kept clean sheets in three of these matches.
Prior to their victory against Juventus at the Allianz Stadium this season, Benfica were winless in all six of their games away from home against Italian opponents in European competitions.
The previous meeting between the two teams at the San Siro took place in the round of 16 of the UEFA Cup in 2004 and ended in a 4-3 victory for Inter Milan.
Benfica have lost the first leg of a European knockout tie by at least a two-goal margin nine times and have managed to overturn the deficit in only one of those ties.
Inter Milan have won the first leg of a European knockout tie by at least a two-goal margin nine times and have never been knocked out from this position.
Inter Milan vs Benfica Prediction
Inter Milan have flattered to deceive in recent weeks but will be intent on proving their mettle in Europe. Romelu Lukaku scored a penalty in the first leg and will look to make an impact this week.
Benfica have punched above their weight this season but were outplayed in the reverse fixture. Both teams can pack a punch on their day and could play out a draw in this match.