Lazar to laugh last for Benfica, while PSG must stop Mitroglou
Group C sees last season’s Europa League finalists Benfica host Anderlecht, while Champions League quarter-finalists PSG travel to dangerous Greek side Olympiacos on matchday one.
Despite Benfica coach Jorge Jesus missing a couple of important attacking players in Nicolas Gaitan and Eduardo Salvio, the Portuguese club are very strong at the Estadio da Luz in European competition.
During their continental campaign last season, which started with the Champions League group stages and ended with the Europa League final, only Barcelona won in Lisbon, while Spartak Moscow, Celtic, Bayer Leverkusen, Bordeaux, Newcastle and Fenerbahce were all defeated.
Three points for the hosts at 1/2 is not a bad price therefore, though it’s worth noting that Benfica have conceded a goal in each of their four domestic games this season.
Meanwhile, teenage Serbian sensation Lazar Markovic, 19, who scored the final goal against Wales in the recent qualifiers, has now had the last word in three of his five games this season and is a 10/1 shot to score last again here.
PSG represent the clear favourites to top Group C given that they reached the quarter-finals last time around, before another summer of substantial investment, which included the capture of Edinson Cavani.
Still, they’ll certainly not have it all their own way against the Greek champions, despite the French side’s odds of 9/10 to win, as Olympiacos accounted for both Arsenal and Montpellier at home in the group stages last season.
While PSG’s superior quality should shine through in the end, this may be one of those games to have a dash at the 37/20 on Olympiacos in the draw-no-bet market.
The absence of first-choice centre-back Alex for PSG is an area of concern for boss Laurent Blanc, especially as whoever replaces him will be lining up against a striker who has now scored seven goals in his last four appearances for club and country.
Greek centre-forward Kostas Mitroglou’s scored his second successive league hat-trick of the season ahead of this encounter after notching for Greece in between and is a sorely tempting 8/1 to score first in Athens.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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