Fenerbahce-Benfica Betting Preview: Expect Kocaman's men to keep things tight against their dangerous visitors

The hosts have built their best ever European campaign on a strong defensive foundation, and Al Hain-Cole expects them to show extra resolve against their illustrious opponents
Fenerbahce play host to Benfica in tonight's Europa League semi-final first leg, a game that manager Aykut Kocaman has branded 'the most important match in our history.'

The Turkish club have never previously reached this stage in European competition, and have been rewarded with a tie against one of the continent's most prestigious names.

Kocaman's team have won more games than anyone else in this competition this year, but are slight outsiders at 21/10 (3.10) with Bet Victor to come out on top.
The visitors have looked a cut above since dropping down from the Champions League, and are available at 29/20 (2.45) to pick up their sixth win in seven unbeaten fixtures in the Europa League.

The Eagles' 100 per cent record came to an end with a 1-1 draw away to Newcastle last time out, and you can get odds of 12/5 (3.40) on them sharing the spoils yet again.

The secret to Fenerbahce's success in this tournament undoubtedly lies in their strength at the back, having conceded just five goals and kept seven clean sheets in their last 10 fixtures.

This mean defensive streak has more than made up for a modest return of just 10 goals scored in that period, and they are bound to keep things tight in an effort to deny their dangerous opponents a precious away goal this evening.

A bet on under 2.5 goals would have paid out in nine of the hosts' last 10 games, as well as two of the three away ties for Jorge Jesus' team in this competition, so looks like a solid investment at 31/40 (1.78) here.

While the home defence are sure to have their hands full in dealing with the prolific Oscar Cardozo, they cannot afford to take their eyes off his strike partner.

Rodrigo Lima has scored 20 goals in 28 appearances since joining from domestic rivals Braga in the summer, and hit the back of the net in memorable fashion at the weekend to make it five in his last six matches.

The in-form forward was on target against Newcastle in the previous round, and offers great value at 2/1 (3.00) to score anytime this evening.

Under 2.5 goals at 31/40 (1.78) with Bet Victor
Rodrigo Lima to score anytime at 2/1 (3.00) with Bet Victor

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, 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.