Champions League: Stalemates the way to wager in Istanbul and Lisbon

Fernando Llorente is fancied to get on the scoresheet v Gala
Fernando Llorente is fancied to get on the scoresheet v Gala

Juventus required just a draw in Turkey but they know a defeat will eliminate them from this year's Champions League, while in Portugal, Benfica almost certainly need a win. James Horncastle previews these two crucial games...

"They’re capable of returning to Turin with three points in their luggage. But memories of how Juventus have complicated things for themselves on occasion make the draw at 3.711/4 a more attractive bet.

Back The Draw @ 3.711/4

Galatasaray v Juventus
Kick-off: Tuesday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports 4

Juventus aren't leaving anyone behind. Andrea Pirlo boarded the plane to Istanbul even though he'll miss Tuesday's decisive game against Galatasaray with a knee injury. Simone Pepe and Sebastian Giovinco are travelling too despite still being unavailable for selection. The club's president Andrea Agnelli also flew to Turkey with the team, notwithstanding the broken ankle that has left him on crutches.

Juventus sound like the walking wounded. Friday night's 2-0 win in Bologna, however, demonstrated their strength in depth. Antonio Conte made six changes to the team that had overcome Udinese the previous weekend. He rested a number of his first choice players and yet the Old Lady still cruised to victory.

Incidentally, it was their seventh in a row in the league. Juventus haven't conceded a single goal throughout that run. Goalkeeper Gigi Buffon is unbeaten in 640 minutes. The mistakes Juventus were making at the beginning of the season and in particular on Galatasaray's trip to Turin in October when they were held to a 2-2 draw are no longer being made.

Confidence is high even though Pirlo won't be playing. Things have started to turn around for Juventus in the Champions League. They didn't deserve to lose to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and the 2-2 draw they recorded at home was to their credit. Fernando Llorente scored in each of those games.

After a difficult start to life in Italy he is really coming good with four goals in his last six matches. First goalscorer in three of those why not back him to be so again at 5.69/2 considering Galatasaray have let in 20 goals in 12 games under coach Roberto Mancini.

A 2-0 win at bottom of the table Elazigspor sent them second in the Super Lig. It was their fifth victory in seven but their first clean sheet with Mancini on the bench. They are transitioning to a three-man defence to sure things up which will come under severe scrutiny on Tuesday. First choice goalkeeper Fernando Muslera is back though. So too is playmaker Wesley Sneijder behind Didier Drogba and Burak Yilmaz.

Juventus require a draw but will play to win. Remember a year ago they went to Shakhtar and grinded out a 1-0 victory to top their group. They're capable of returning to Turin with three points in their luggage. But memories of how Juventus have complicated things for themselves on occasion make the draw at 3.711/4 a more attractive bet.

Recommended Bets
Back Fernando Llorente First Goalscorer @ 5.95/1
Back The Draw @ 3.711/4

Benfica v PSG
Kick-off: Tuesday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports Interactive

Over in Lisbon, to book their place in the knock-out round Benfica must get a better result against group winners Paris Saint-Germain than Anderlecht do at home to Olympiacos. Otherwise a return to the Europa League where they of course reached the final last season might well be on the cards. That would hurt given the final is at the Estadio da Luz this term, yet Benfica are realistic about their chances of making it.

"The big goal is the championship which the fans are eager to win (after throwing it away in May)," coach Jorge Jesus admitted. "The Champions League final is a second goal, which opponents and other teams have a much better possibility of reaching but that does not mean we can't dream and work for it."

Hope of a result on Tuesday night comes in the news that the Champions League's joint top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic won't start. Alex and Thiago Silva are absent. Deep-lying playmaker Marco Verratti and right-back Gregory van der Wiel are suspended. Still, PSG's depth is incredible, there's a good atmosphere in the team with stand-ins regularly stepping up and ensuring there's no let up in the team's momentum (last week's defeat to Evian aside). Remember they haven't lost in the Champions League in over a year now either.

That setback actually came in Portugal, up north at Porto. Is it an auspicious sign? Probably not. Benfica drew 2-2 with newly promoted Arouca on Friday, a team from the suburbs of their rivals' town, Oporto. Some players were rested, but even so. A second string PSG look good for a draw. Back it at 3.814/5.

Recommended Bet
Back The Draw @ 3.814/5

Win More In-Play with Betfair!

Stoke 3-2 Chelsea

If you'd backed Stoke for £25 - after 40 minutes of the match when it was 0-1 - you would have won £641 with Betfair.

At William Hill, the same bet at the same time would have won you £400.

That means you were £241 better of with Betfair!

For more details on this and other price comparisons go to Betchecker

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles