Benfica vs Toulouse Prediction: Goals to light up Lisbon tie

 | February 14 | 

3 mins read

europa league logo scaled

Two-time Europa League finalists Benfica begin their bid for glory in the competition when they host struggling Toulouse at Estadio da Luz in Thursday's play-off round first leg.

The Lisbon giants should find this a little easier than their Champions League group, which featured Red Bull Salzburg, Real Sociedad and Inter Milan.

But Toulouse will believe they can beat anyone on their own patch after recording a famous 3-2 win over Liverpool in the group stages earlier this season.

Benfica vs Toulouse betting tips

  • Benfica and Over 2.5 goals @ 1/1
  • Arthur Cabral to score Anytime @ 11/8

Team News

Benfica look set to recall Arthur Cabral up front and switch formation from the 4-2-2 used last Sunday to coach Roger Schmidt’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system.

Meanwhile, Toulouse are still without injured duo Denis Genreau and Zakaria Aboukhlal in midfield, so new signing Shavy Babicka should start out wide again, while central defenders Logan Costa and Moussa Diarra are available again after Africa Cup of Nations duty.

Match Odds

Benfica are strongly fancied to take a lead with them to France for the second leg, with the home side rated 1/3 chances to get a win in front of their own fans.

Toulouse, who are not in particularly good form, are 8/1 to spring an upset in Lisbon, with the draw at 9/2.

Both teams to score, which landed in all three of Toulouse's away games in the group phase, is available at 1/1, while it's 8/11 at least one of the teams fails to find the net and over 3.5 total goals is on offer at 7/4.

Benfica and Over 2.5 goals @ 1/1

Benfica have never failed to make it through a play-off round of a UEFA competition and should harbour realistic hopes of going all the way given they reached the 2013 and 2014 Europa League Finals after dropping down from the Champions League.

Schmidt's squad underwent some major surgery last summer, with striker Goncalo Ramos, left-back Alejandro Grimaldo and goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos all leaving and an array of new faces being recruited.

It has taken time for the team to gel, but the Eagles are flying at the moment, with a penalty shoot-out defeat in the league cup the only blemish on their record since early November.

Benfica have won 13 of their last 18 games and eight of their last 11 at home, so it looks highly likely that Schmidt's outfit will get the win on Thursday.

Toulouse have found things tough at times this season, but a capacity to raise their game to meet the occasion was seen in their 3-2 win over Liverpool in November.

Les Violets had lost their three games prior to that fixture and failed to win any of their next five afterwards. However, it is hard to see how they can live with Benfica's better technicians if the game is played with greater intensity than a normal Ligue 1 game.

Toulouse have conceded two or more goals in four of their last seven road games, including a French Cup tie with third-tier Rouen that ended 3-3, so the prospects for a Benfica win with at least three goals look good.

Benfica and over 2.5 goals vs Toulouse

Arthur Cabral to score Anytime @ 11/8

Schmidt surprised many with his selection for Benfica's trip to Vitoria Guimaraes on Sunday as he left all three of his central forward options on the bench and deployed Rafa alongside Angel Di Maria up front.

The coach has hinted that he could take a different approach in this game, which should mean a recall for Brazilian marksman Arthur Cabral.

He came off the bench to grab Benfica's stoppage-time leveller at the weekend and make it four goals in his last four appearances.

Cabral, who was the joint-top scorer in last season's Europa Conference League with seven goals for Fiorentina, also scored in his last European appearance, Benfica's 3-1 win at Red Bull Salzburg.

Arthur Cabral to score at any time vs Toulouse

Football betting tips from Betfred Insights.

Share Article

(Visited 92 times, 1 visits today)