AZ - Benfica Betting Preview: Aguias to continue to soar in Alkmaar

Jorge Jesus's men looked every inch the potential Europa League winners against Tottenham in the last round and Al Hain-Cole expects them to show their class once again
After negotiating their way past Tottenham in the last round, Benfica continue their campaign for Europa League glory with a quarter-final away leg against AZ on Thursday.

Last year's beaten finalists are runaway leaders in the Portuguese league and 3/4 (1.75) favourites with William Hill to put one foot in the last four with victory this evening.

Despite losing just one of their 12 games in this competition, including qualifiers, Dick Advocaat's men are 7/2 (4.50) outsiders to come out on top against the Champions League dropouts.

The Dutch side have drawn three of their last five in this competition and you can get odds of 11/4 (3.75) on them grinding out a stalemate in this one.

Having knocked out another of the tournament favourites in emphatic style in the last round, Jorge Jesus's team are well fancied to reach a second consecutive final and it is not difficult to see why.

Their recent 1-0 defeat away to Porto in the cup was the club's first loss in 28 games, a run that had included an impressive 24 wins and three draws, with 57 goals scored and just 17 conceded in that period.

After easing back into the winning habit with a straightforward 1-0 victory away to Braga that saw the hosts crash to a first home defeat in 13 fixtures, Aguias will be extremely confident of coming out on top against a team that have just one win and three goals to their name in the last five games.

Die Kaasboeren limped past a depleted Anzhi team thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 aggregate victory in the last round, with the only goal of the tie coming from the penalty spot.

However, the step up in class should be too much when they take on a rampant Benfica team, meaning that those 3/4 (1.75) odds are not to be missed on this one ending up in an away win.

Considering that AZ have scored just three goals in their last four European games, odds of 19/10 (2.90) are also well worth backing on the visitors keeping an 11th clean sheet in 16 on their way to victory and setting up a somewhat easier challenge in the second leg.

Benfica to win for a 2pt stake at 3/4 (1.75) with William Hill
Benfica to win to nil for a 1pt stake at 19/10 (2.90) with William Hill

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Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.