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Benfica v Inter Milan preview: Off-colour Italians hope to stifle Benfica

Benfica are looking to succeed where compatriots Porto failed by finding a way past Inter Milan and taking a major step towards a place in the last four of the Champions League.

Twice winners of the old European Cup back in the 1960s, Benfica are looking to make the Champions League semis for the first time after five quarter-final flops.

But standing in their way are Inter Milan, who saw off Benfica's Primeira Liga rivals FC Porto in the last-16 without conceding a single goal.

WhatBenfica v Inter Milan
WhereEstadio da Luz, Lisbon
When20:00, Tuesday 11th April
How to watchBT Sport 2
OddsBenfica 11/10, Draw 23/10, Inter Milan 13/5

Eagles dare to dream of last-four spot

Benfica, 14/1 to be crowned kings of Europe for the third time and for the first time since 1962, are regulars at the back end of the Champions League but making that step to the semis has proved tougher.

The Eagles have lost all five Champions League quarter-final ties and ten in the history of the competition - only Bayern Munich have suffered more last-eight exits.

This season, under German head coach Roger Schmidt, they have barely put a foot wrong, both in Europe and domestically.

After coming through two rounds of qualifying they found themselves in the toughest of groups alongside Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus and didn't just make it to the last-16, but did so as group winners.

At home they have built up a seven-point cushion over Porto as they seek to land title glory for the first time since 2019.

Lisbon aces' goal threat will concern Inter

Benfica have been in outstanding form, enjoying a 16-game unbeaten streak from New Year's Eve, a run which was finally ended on Friday when they lost 2-1 at home to Porto in the league.

Schmidt's men had kept 11 clean sheets in those 16 games, a defensive strength which allied to a fearsome strike rate, has made them a real force this season.

They haven't failed to find the net in a home game for almost an entire calendar year and smashed five past Club Brugge in front of their own fans in the previous round.

They have scored 114 goals in all competitions, with Goncalo Ramos top of the scoring tree with 25, closely followed by Joao Mario on 23. Ramos is a 15/8 anytime scorer proposition, Joao Mario 7/2.

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Can Inter do a 'Porto' on another Portuguese power?

Over 2.5 goals is a 6/5 chance and given everything we know about Benfica you'd think that's an obvious bet - except there are two teams involved in this tie and the other, Inter Milan, have a very different mindset.

In the last round they took on another attack-minded outfit in Porto and beat them 1-0 on aggregate. They rode their luck but frustrated Sergio Conceicao's men and were rewarded with a hard-earned place in the last eight.

Their form though is awful. A 2-0 win against Lecce just over a month ago saw them move up to second place in Serie A. Fast forward a few weeks and they have dropped to fifth and are without a win in six in all competitions.

On Good Friday they were held to a 1-1 draw at Salernitana, where Romelu Lukaku produced one of the misses of the season.

Like Benfica, they had done well just qualifying for the knockout rounds, having split Bayern Munich and Barcelona in their group, but those autumnal successes seem a long time ago.

Schmidt has defensive headache to solve

Inter are 13/5 to win in Lisbon where Benfica are 11/10, while the draw - a 23/10 chance - would doubtless be taken by the Italian side's head coach Simone Inzaghi.

And Inzaghi will be buoyed by the defensive headache Schmidt is going to have to solve, with veteran centre-back Nicolas Otamendi suspended and right-back Alexander Bah injured.

Morato looks the favourite to pip fellow Brazilian Lucas Verissimo for centre-back duties with another Brazilian, Gilberto, replacing Bah.

Inzaghi will be without classy central defender Milan Skriniar and key midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu through injury.

Up front Lautaro Martinez might have gone six games without a goal but the World Cup winner, 7/1 open the scoring, is pretty much undroppable. He boasts seven away goals in the Champions League in Inter colours.

The question is who starts alongside him, with the likelihood that 37-year-old Edin Dzeko will be preferred to Lukaku.

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