Benfica Vs. Chelsea: Where To Watch Online, Preview, Team News, Prediction

 @JasonLeMiere
on March 27 2012 12:24 PM
Where to watch, online, Benfica Vs. Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg from Lisbon, plus a full preview, team news and prediction.
Where to watch, online, Benfica Vs. Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg from Lisbon, plus a full preview, team news and prediction. Reuters

When and Where: The Champions League quarter-final first leg kicks-off from the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon at 2. 45 p.m. ET. Live coverage will be on the Fox Soccer Channel. The match will also be shown online from 5 p.m. on FoxSoccer2Go.

Preview: Much of the buildup to this quarter-final encounter has focused on accusations that Chelsea are taking Benfica lightly as they seek a semi-final meeting with Barcelona.

These beliefs were not helped by a video released on Chelsea's official website showing Didier Drogba mockingly shaking in fear when the draw was made.

While former-Benfica star David Luiz tried to diffuse any tension by claiming that Drogba was responding to the prospect of facing Barcelona once more, the suspicion remains that, after their dramatic comeback against Napoli, Chelsea think they have been gifted a kind path to the semi-final.

And, as if they needed it, the controversy has certainly given Benfica extra motivation to prove that they are a side worthy of their place in that last eight of Europe's premier competition.

Any responses we'll be giving to Drogba will be on the field and proving we are better than him, said Benfica boss Jorge Jesus in the pre-match press conference yesterday, according to BBC Sport.

Benfica drew twice with Premier League leaders Manchester United earlier in the campaign and have not tasted defeat at home in Europe this season.

Both clubs come into Tuesday's contest on the back of 0-0 draws. Benfica tied with Olhanense, to leave them in third place in the Portuguese Liga standings. Chelsea's stalemate came at home to Tottenham, which meant the Blues remained five points adrift of a Champions League-qualifying position for next season.

Team News: With Argentinian Ezequiel Garay highly doubtful, Jardel is expected to form an all-Brazilian center-back pairing with Luisao.

Pablo Aimar appeared as a substitute on Friday, but after quickly being shown his marching orders, the attacking midfielder may be left out against Chelsea. Rodrigo should get the nod alongside top scorer Oscar Cardozo up front.

Branislav Ivanovic has made the trip to Lisbon meaning that the Blues will likely have a fully-fit squad for the first-leg. After his impressive showing in Chelsea's win over Napoli, Didier Drogba can expect to start ahead of Fernando Torres.

Interim boss Roberto Di Matteo has reaffirmed his belief in Chelse's old guard, suggesting Frank Lampard and Michael Essien will start in the center of midfield.

Prediciton: There was, perhaps understandably, an over-reaction to Chelsea's triumph over Napoli. Yet the Blues would be wise to recall that the Italians spurned a host of chances to put the tie to bed. Despite a supposed upturn in form, the same problems that Andre Villas-Boas identified remain.

There is the sense at Stamford Bridge that Roberto Di Matteo is merely attempting to stick a Band-Aid over his aging squad in the hope that it will hold out for one last hurrah. But with their talented, yet under-estimated, lineup, it could well be that Benfica are the team to rip that short-sighted protection clean off.

Benfica 2-1 Chelsea

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