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UEFA Europa League

  • 25 April 2013
  • • 20:05
  • • Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadyumu, İstanbul
  • Referee: M. Mažić
  • • Attendance: 43936
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Fenerbahce-Benfica Preview: Hosts eye first European final

Fenerbahce-Benfica Preview: Hosts eye first European final

AFP

The Turkish outfit are aiming to qualify for their first-ever European final, but will be wary of Jorge Jesus' men, as the road to Amsterdam reaches its penultimate stage

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

FENERBAHCE
Fenerbahce
Volkan
Gonul, Yobo, Korkmaz, Ziegler

Meireles, Sahin, Baroni
Kuyt, Erkin
Webo

BENFICA

Arthur
Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Melgarejo

Matic, Perez
Salvio, Lima, Gaitan
Cardozo

Fenerbahce boss Aykut Kocaman has no pressing injury issues ahead of the first-leg of his side's Europa League semi-final against Benfica on Thursday evening.

Dirk Kuyt and Pierre Webo are expected to continue their striking partnership, despite the 2-0 defeat to Gençlerbirligi in their Super Lig last weekend. Moussa Sow and Salih Ucan are pushing for starts, though Kocaman isn't expected to differ too much from Sunday's fixture.

Meanwhile, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus has been boosted by the news that Ezequiel Garay has recovered from a slight knock suffered in last weekend's 2-0 win over Sporting.

Oscar Cardozo started that fixture, with Jesus mulling over whether to field the Paraguay international up front in Istanbul, with Ola John waiting in the wings.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Fenerbahce have qualified for their first-ever major continental semi-final, after beating Lazio in the previous round.
  • The Turkish outfit have won three of their six games against Portuguese opposition - with a two out of three record on home soil.
  • Aykut Kocaman's side are unbeaten in the Europa League since the turn of the year - winning three and drawing three of their six fixtures.
  • Benfica are the only side left in the competition not to have lost a Europa League game this term.
  • The Portuguese outfit are hoping to reach the final in Amsterdam - the scene of their European Cup triumph in 1962 over Real Madrid.
  • The last time these two sides faced each other in European competition Benfica won 7-1 on aggregate. That scoreline in the first leg remains Fener's heaviest European defeat to date.
  • Benfica's Eduardo Salvio holds the joint-highest number of appearances in the Europa League, amassing total of 31 since the competition was re-branded in 2009-10.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Volkan DemirelGoalkeeper
2Egemen KorkmazDefender
26Joseph YoboDefender
86Reto ZieglerDefender
77Gökhan GönülDefender
5Mehmet TopalMidfielder
14Raúl MeirelesMidfielder
16Cristian BaroniMidfielder
7Moussa SowStriker
11Dirk KuytStriker
9Pierre Achille WeboStriker
23Fehmi Mert GünokGoalkeeper
4Bekir İrtegünDefender
21Selçuk ŞahinMidfielder
-Milos KrasicMidfielder
38Mehmet TopuzMidfielder
-Salih UçanMidfielder
-Semih ŞentürkStriker
1ArturGoalkeeper
14Maxi PereiraDefender
14Ezequiel GarayDefender
28L. MelgarejoStriker
33Jardel Nivaldo VieiraDefender
16Pablo AimarMidfielder
18Toto SalvioMidfielder
21Nemanja MatićMidfielder
-André GomesMidfielder
7Ó. CardozoStriker
24Ola JohnStriker
13Paulo LopesGoalkeeper
19RoderickDefender
17Carlos MartinsMidfielder
20Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián GaitánMidfielder
16J. UrretaviscayaMidfielder
11LimaStriker
-RodrigoStriker
Players to Watch
Dirk Kuyt
Dirk Kuyt
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 11
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The former Liverpool star has excelled for Thursday's hosts since moving from Anfield. Kuyt, a seasoned Netherlands international, has three goals in the Europa League, adding to 12 scored in other competitions for Fenerbahce this term.
Ezequiel Garay
Ezequiel Garay
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 14
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Argentina international has re-ignited his career in Portugal since his Real Madrid failure of two years ago, transforming himself into a key component of the Benfica juggernaut. The Portuguese outfit have conceded just three times in the five games he has played in the Europa League.
Prediction
Benfica are unbeaten since February but Fenerbahce's desire to reach a first European final, coupled with their home support, could see them edge the first leg.
Editor's Prediction

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