Benfica Keys to Victory
Benfica is, obviously, the more in-form side of this tie.
They convincingly dismantled Club Brugge in the Round of 16, scoring 5 in the return leg to win 7-1 on aggregate. The Portuguese side sits at the top of the Primeira Liga and won four of its last five games, outscoring their opponents 15-4.
Benfica averages 2.9 goals per game in the Champions League with an xG of 17. Joāo Mario (6), Rafa Silva (5) and Goncalo Ramos (3) have been in exceptional form for the Eagles, collectively scoring 14 of their 23 goals in the Champions League.
The defense has been on point for Benfica, making 13.3 interceptions per match and only conceding 8 goals overall. Alejandro Grimaldo has been key with his defensive attacking style, producing three assists and delivering accurate crosses to create 18 big chances for the Eagles.
The main objective for Benfica should be to start the game fast with an early goal against a struggling Inter side. Goals shouldn’t be a problem for Benfica, but penetrating the defense will be difficult as Inter has only conceded four goals in their last five games. Nonetheless, their lack of attacking power should be a relief for the Portuguese.
Inter Keys to Victory
Inter have been in horrible form, not winning any of their last six matches with their last win coming on March 5. They currently sit fifth in Serie A, two points off third-place AS Roma and one point off fourth-place city rivals AC Milan.
Edin Dzeko has been their top scorer with three goals. The club is going through an attacking drought in all competitions, registering only 5.2 shots on target in Serie A and 5.3 shots on target per match in the Champions League.
The Nerazzurri have scored 11 goals in the Champions League, 1.4 per match with an xG of 10.9. They managed to slip by an arguably better FC Porto side in the round of 16 with an 86th-minute goal from Romelu Lukaku in the first leg, 1-0 on aggregate.
Of 21 big chances created, Inter has missed 16.
The defense will be key for Inter over two legs. Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni have been the heart and soul of the defense, and paired with the likes of Denzel Dumfries and Stefan de Vrij, the Nerazzurri concede 0.9 goals per match and registered 5 clean sheets, thanks to Andre Onana’s 37 saves (4.5 saves per match).
Over two legs, Benfica should be able to boss Inter and take care of business.
Their bolstering attack may prove too strong, even for the likes of Inter’s brick wall in the Champions League. Ramos, Mario and Silva have been in red-hot form, scoring goals left and right for the Eagles, so expect to see one (if not all) of those names on the scoresheet.
Scoring three goals is enough to take care of a struggling Inter side, who only managed to bag two goals in their last 5 games. But if the defense manages to hold, we can see Inter sneak another 1-0 aggregate win, or take it to penalties.