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Benfica to bring curtain down on Tottenham in Europa League

| 20.03.2014

Spurs need a minimum of three goals in Portugal if they are to progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League and with hosts Benfica in fine form following a 3-1 win at White Hart Lane, that looks an unlikely prospect.

Jorge Jesus’s team are the 8/13 favourites for victory on the night at Ladbrokes with the bookmakers backing the Glorioso to qualify for the next stage at overwhelming odds of 1/40.

It comes in the wake of their resounding first-leg triumph, a result Benfica followed up with a 4-2 victory away at Nacional in the league to make it 10 wins in a row going into this return leg.

The Portuguese giants put three past Greek side PAOK last time out at home in the Europa League and after finding the net three times in north London look a good bet to score over 2.5 goals, something priced at 19/10 with Ladbrokes.

Former Bolton loanee and rumoured Liverpool target Rodrigo could be one to watch for a goal for the hosts, having opened the scoring in the first leg, and the youngster is available at 11/2 to be the first goalscorer.

But with Benfica only requiring a draw – on at 3/1 with Ladbrokes – the onus will be on Spurs to go on the attack, with the potential for the Reds to hit them on the break.

Tim Sherwood is likely to field an attacking line-up with Spurs 9/2 outsiders for a win and a distant 10/1 to reach the last eight.

Tottenham have picked up just one win from their last five away encounters in all competitions and are currently on a run of three straight defeats on the road – something that doesn’t bode well for their prospects.

But if the Lilywhites are to progress then the goals of Roberto Soldado could be crucial.

The Spurs boss came under some criticism in the first leg after opting to field the inexperienced Harry Kane from the start in favour of the Spaniard who, despite a so-so season in the Premier League, has found the net regularly on the continent.

Five goals in six European appearances tells its own story and with Sherwood likely to start the former Valencia man Ladbrokes customers can capitalise on a first goalscorer price boost which has seen the 28-year-old’s odds of opening the scoring move from 9/1 to 10/1.

Having opened the scoring in Tottenham’s 4-1 win over Anzhi in the group stage, a repeat here would be ideal for the Lilywhites.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.