Alan Patrick (56) Viktor Kovalenko (72)
UEFA Europa League
2 - 1
Thursday, February 20, 2020 7:55 PM
Pizzi (67, pen.)
February 20, Kharkiv, OSK Metalist, 19:55
Live broadcast on Futbol 1 channel
Before the match
The European competitions are back! Shakhtar start the official 2020 campaign with a crucial match vs Lisbon-based Benfica. In Kharkiv, the best clubs of Ukraine and Portugal will lock horns. Both sides took part in the Champions League group stage in the autumn: with 6 points, the Miners claimed the third spot in Group C after Manchester City and Atalanta, while the Eagles scored 7 points in Group G, letting RB Leipzig and Lyon go in front."
The key difference between Shakhtar’s training and Benfica’s regular schedule is the presence of a long break in the UPL. In winter, Luis Castro’s men held 2 training camps in the Turkish Belek, holding 8 test games. The friendlies coupled with training, allowed the players to rediscover pretty good form. After returning to Ukraine, the team started to thoroughly analyze the performance of their upcoming opponents.
Dodo will miss the first leg vs Benfica (due to December’s sending-off in the game vs Atalanta and suspension). By the way, the right-back, just like Maycon, did not take part in the Miners’ training camp, as he was with the Olympic team of Brazil. Manor Solomon is still recovering from injury.
If you want to support Shakhtar in the encounter with the Champions of Portugal right in the stadium, buy tickets at shakhtar.com, the club’s partner sites, or at the OSK Metalist ticket office at any convenient time.
Benfica are approaching the Round of 32 with the goal of extending the successful trend: at this stage, this is the Lisbon team’s sixth time at this stage - it saw them advance further on all occasions. Bruno Lage’s men did not rest and did not lose their form, having had 12 competitive games in 3 tournaments over 2 months.
By this February, the Eagles produced a winning streak of 16 consecutive league victories, meeting with the toughest opponents in two recent rounds (Porto and Braga) and suffering defeats. The gap reduced to a minimum (1 point). However, there is no need to talk about the Benfica crisis: the team create a sufficient number of scoring chances, with the outcome of the last match resulting from the lack of finishing.
Bruno Lage might have been bothered by the staffing situation in midfield, since Weigl is suspended and Gabriel is not able to benefit the team due to some health issues, but there is no personnel shortage for this role. On the contrary, the mentor of Benfica has yet to decide on the player to form a pairing with Taarabt who is in excellent shape - the experienced Samaris or the young Florentino. The availability of the Eagles’ vice-captain - the right-back Andre Almeida – is questionable, but this is also no news for the Lisbon team as the 18-year-old club graduate Tomas Tavares appeared in 5 of 6 Champions League games in the autumn.
In the 2007/08 season, the clubs met at the Champions League group stage. In the 2nd round, Shakhtar won at the Estadio da Luz thanks to Jadson's only goal shortly before the break. And in the December game, Benfica took revenge in Donetsk (through Oscar Cardozo's brace and Cristiano Lucarelli's spot-kick goal in the first half).
Shakhtar Vs. Benfica history
UEFA Europa League
Referee: Bobby Madden
Man of the Match