Fenerbahce favoured in Lisbon

  • By: David John (Twitter: @SLifeDaveJohn)
  • Last Updated: May 2 2013, 20:19 BST

David John expects Fenerbahce to put up a bold display as they bid to reach the Europa League final on Thursday.

Fenerbahce are the bet on Thursday night
Fenerbahce are the bet on Thursday night

Basle are 10/1 chances to overturn a one-goal deficit against Chelsea and reach the final of the Europa League where either Benfica or Fenerbahce await.

The latter game looks more interesting from a punting perspective and the Turkish visitors are a stout enough outfit to progress to the showdown at the Amsterdam ArenA on May 15.

The first leg had all the hallmarks of a night of frustration for them as they hit the woodwork three times - including with a penalty - before Egemen Korkmaz finally broke the deadlock with a header on 72 minutes.

The result was not only a triumph for patience but also showed the value of doing some diligent homework.

Former Liverpool favourite Dirk Kuyt revealed the team had watched plenty of film of their opponents in the build-up to game as coach Aykut Kocaman got his tactics correct on the night.

This was backed up by Benfica's Pablo Aimar, who admitted "we couldn't really play the sort of game the coach expected us to play".

An intimidating atmosphere in Istanbul as usual played its part too so it all means the second tie is poised beautifully.

Another fascinating angle to the clash is the respective records of the two teams in Europe. Benfica are unbeaten at home in 13 games over three years in this competition while Fenerbahce stand on the brink of a piece of history themselves having yet to lose in six away Europa League matches.

As they say, something will have to give and I just have a feeling that the preparation and approach from the visitors can put them into the final.

It is a spin of a coin with the layers as to who they think will qualify but the double chance market does give us some scope and looks the way to go.

BetVictor offer 2/1 for Fenerbahce-draw and makes some appeal to small stakes with that gritty away profile difficult to ignore on what will be a big night for Turkish football.

  • Preview posted at 1530 BST on 01/05/2013.