Benfica vs PAOK
2018-19 Champions League Qualification Play-off
Date: Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Kick-off at 20:00 UK/ 21:00 CET
Venue: Estadio da Luz (Lisbon).
The Portuguese giants Benfica are drawn against Greek side PAOK for a place in the Champions League group stage.
Benfica’s Champions League campaign didn’t start until last round and they were handed a tough draw with Turkish giants Fenerbahce.
Rui Vitoria’s men managed to edge the tie by a narrow 2-1 aggregate, thanks to a 1-0 win at home in the first leg backed up by a 1-1 stalemate in Turkey.
The Portuguese side also started their domestic campaign in flying style with wins against Victoria and Boavista.
The Eagles have now scored in all competitive matches so far this season, a total of 7 goals and conceded 3.
Meantime, the Greek league is yet to start and PAOK’s competitive matches come from the two round of Champions League qualifiers. They faced some quality oppositions in the process and impressed with their free flowing attacking football.
The glorious moment was in the initial 45 minutes of the first leg of third round tie against Spartak Moscow when they came back from 2 goals down to win it 3-2. The second leg finished goal-less.
PAOK defeated Swiss side Basel in the third round with two solid wins taking the aggregate to 5-1.
Benfica vs PAOK Head-to-head
The teams had met twice before in the continental competition, both times in the Europa League. Benfica won three of those matches while losing one.
Their last meeting was in the 2013/14 season in the round of 16 of the competition. Benfica did a double that time, 1-0 in Greece and 3-0 in the return leg back home.
Meantime, their knock out clash in 1999 UEFA Cup saw away wins for either side by the same 2-1 full-time score-line.
Benfica vs PAOK Prediction
Benfica made a confident start in all competitions they entered this season and this is why they remain as the favourite to win this fixture.
But Rui Vitoria have every reason to worry about POAK, a team that come with a bag of surprises to every game. The visitors will be confident of doing a good job at home, thus Benfica’s chances depend of the first leg result.
So, we have definite reasons to believe that this game has the potential to pan out as a thriller as we have seen in every match these two sides are involved, regardless of the competition.
Benfica vs PAOK Betting Tips
PAOK +1.5 Asian Handicap @ 7/10 (1.70)
Both teams to Score @ 12/11 (2.05).