Benfica vs Astana
|Date & Time||Wednesday November 25, 2015, 10:00 AM (EST)|
The Line: Astana 5/1 Draw 13/5 Benfica 4/5
Bt Sport; Fox Sport
An early kickoff on Wednesday as Astanta host Benfica with the Portugese side looking for a point to guarantee themselves a spot in the knockout stages. Benfica will know that a trip to Astana has proven to be a tough fixture for everyone in the group. The weather in Kazakhstan will be very cold, projected to be no higher than -3'c the home side will have a distinct advantage being used to playing in this weather but it will also make for a more conservative game. It's very tough to play in this type of weather and Benfica will be cognizant of the fact that they need just a point to guarantee themselves a spot in the knockout stages. Look for Mitroglu to be the key man going forward for Benfica in what could be a very defense orientated game, Benfica will also be missing their other creative player in Gaitan and captain Lusiao also misses this one through injury after breaking his elbow at the weekend.
Astana have proven to be a tough team to beat at home with draws agaisnt both Athletico Madrid and Galatasaray at the Astana Arena. This will be a huge game for the home side and while a win would give themselves a chance of qualification from the group stages. While Astana are newbies to the Champions League in their first ever campaign in the tournament they have done remarkably well and I think this team is definitely going in the right direction. The money that comes with qualification to the group stages should ensure that Astana have a good chance at domestic domination over the next few years and with Canas, Kabananga they have some players who could hurt Benfica on the counter attack.
Taking the draw here. I love Astana in this spot if I am honest. I think Benfica will be happy with the point and qualification and I think while the home side will have a go they wont open themselves up too much to Benfica's counter attack. A 0-0 seems the most likely outcome similar to the Atletico Madrid game.