Inter Milan will travel to Portugal this Tuesday to face 22022/23 Champions League dark horses Benfica in the first leg of their quarter-final doubleheader.
The hosts have enjoyed a remarkable UCL campaign and come into this tie as one of the four sides yet to lose a game in this campaign. They finished top of their group ahead of PSG and qualified for this stage by beating Club Brugge 7-1 on aggregate.
While it could be argued that they faced arguably the weakest team in the last round, the Portuguese side can point to their two-legged draw against PSG and two wins in two group games over Juventus as a proof that they deserve to be here.
They have lost just once in their last nine games (W8), a narrow 2-1 loss to title rivals FC Porto last Friday, and will fancy their chances here and bid to extend their impressive home record against Italian clubs (W7, D4, L3) when Inter Milan comes to town.
Claiming a first-leg advantage in this quarter-final tie will likely be essential to Benfica’s chances of progression. The Eagles are in a position to do so after losing just three of their last 25 European matches on home turf (W16, D6).
Meanwhile, Inter Milan will travel to Estádio da Luz in dire form, having failed to win any of their last six competitive games (D3, L3). Furthermore, their last outing was a dour 1-1 draw with lowly Salernitana, which means their top-four quest this season is now officially under threat.
That also means that the future of manager Simon Inzaghi is also under scrutiny. The former Lazio man will be desperate to find some reprieve here. But Inter’s record at this stage in the UCL era is uninspiring, as they have fallen at this hurdle in four of their six quarter-final jaunts.
However, they qualified for this stage of the UCL by beating Portuguese side FC Porto 1-0 on aggregate in the previous round. Unfortunately, the only win in that tie came at the San Siro, meaning they may struggle again on the road. The fact that only once have they ever won away from home against Portuguese opposition (D5, L4) also makes for grim reading for even the most optimistic Inter fans.
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