16 September 2020
Toumba Stadium is the venue as PAOK and Benfica go head-to-head in the penultimate round of the UEFA Champions League qualifying this midweek.
Benfica’s visit may stir some painful memories, considering the hosts have bowed out of a respective European competition in all three previous ties versus the Lisbon outfit. Moreover, three of PAOK’s overall four European home clashes against the Portuguese visitors have resulted in a loss (W1), with each coming at the hands of Benfica. Also, PAOK’s latest attempt to reach the Champions League group stage has ended in a 5-4 elimination to Ajax in this precise round (2-2 H, 2-3 A). In fact, before ousting Besiktas in the previous qualifying round 3-1 at this venue, the Greek giants had lost seven of nine European fixtures (W2). Interestingly, though, five of those seven defeats have seen Abel Ferreira’s men fail to get on the scoresheet.
Meanwhile, the visitors, who join the competition at this stage, have won both of their previous UEFA trips to Greece after previously suffering three defeats in a row. Benfica’s overall record in Greece stands at W5, L5. Since overcoming PAOK in the Champions League play-off round back in 2018/19, ‘As Águias’ have lost six of 12 matches in the competition (W4, D2). A clear majority (66.67%) of those fixtures have been notably tight, as eight of 12 have ended separating the sides by under 1.5 goals. Yet, five of Benfica’s last six UEFA trips have seen over 3.5 goals and both teams on the scoresheet. However, the Portuguese heavyweights have failed to impress away from home lately, suffering 11 defeats in their previous 18 UEFA matches on the road (W3, D4).
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