UEFA Europa League

Marseille v Benfica: Split stakes across Extra-Time & Penalties market

Argentina and Benfica winger Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring in Lisbon last Thursday

After three out of three winners on the first leg last week James Eastham reveals the smart plays ahead of this Europa League Quarter-Final clash on Thursday night...

  • Make Over 2.5 Goals your main selection

  • Aubameyang and Di Maria the danger men

  • Back game to go to extra-time

Marseille vs Benfica
Thursday 11 April, 20:00
Live on TNT Sports 5

Expect a close game

These two sides served up entertaining fare in Lisbon last week and a similarly absorbing bout is on the cards at Stade Velodrome this time around.

Benfica lead 2-1 from the first leg but Marseille - who rallied from 2-0 down to finish the game strongly - won't bow out without a fight.

That 2-1 scoreline was a fair reflection of the first leg but Marseille will be quietly confident they can cancel out the deficit.

Marseille's Ligue 1 match was postponed last weekend in order to give the French giants the longest possible time to prepare for this return fixture, and to remove the risk of manager Jean-Louis Gasset's players suffering injuries.

This prolonged period of rest and recuperation may hand Marseille a slight advantage, although Benfica weren't unduly troubled in cruising to a 3-0 (home) win vs Moreirense last Sunday, and have had three full days off since.

Extra-time on the cards

Given how well-matched the sides are, it would be no surprise to see the game go to extra-time. This is an outcome worth considering in the betting markets.

Marseille in ET and Benfica in ET are both available in the Method of Victory market on the Sportsbook at 12/113.00, while Either Team in ET is available at 6/17.00. In the same market, you can back Marseille on Pens and Benfica on Pens at 12/113.00, or Either Team on Pens at 6/17.00.

All of these prices are appealing given that there's so little to pick between the teams. Our preference would be to split our stakes across Either Team in ET and Either Team on Pens, so that we make a profit should one of these two outcomes occur.

Back Either Team in ET in the Method of Victory market @ 6/17.00

Bet here

Back Either Team on penalties in the Method of Victory market @ 6/17.00

Bet here

Overs the headline pick

Last week's game featured three goals and we expect the same again this week. Both teams showed good attacking quality in the first leg but there were noticeable flaws in the defences at both ends as well.

Trailing by a goal from the first leg, Marseille have to go for the win here, and will be confident of troubling the Benfica defence. Little in Marseille's recent record suggests they'll be able to keep a clean sheet, however.

Marseille are on a run of five straight defeats in all competitions, conceding 12 goals along the way. Those figures will give Benfica hope, and are a factor in us backing Overs this week.

Over 2.5 Goals is available at 1.768/11. For those that are a little more cautious and wish to cover the 1-1 scoreline, 'Yes' in the Both teams to Score? market - which paid out for us at 1.748/11 last week - is available at 1.645/8 this week.

Auba and Di Maria looking sharp

Another of our three winners in our first-leg preview last week was on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who we predicted would score. Marseille's top scorer will be the main danger man again for the hosts, and is available to find the net at 13/102.30 this time around.

For Benfica, Angel di Maria was on the scoresheet last week. Marseille's Stade Velodrome is a venue he knows well thanks to his seven years of playing for PSG, and he'd love to strike again versus the side that were arch-enemies to him during his time in the French capital.

Di Maria is 12/53.40 to be on target, while Rafa - Benfica's other goalscorer last week - is 11/43.75.

Now read Jamie Kemp's Atalanta v Liverpool betting preview!

Recommended bets

James' 2023-24 European P/L

Staked: 10pts
Returned: +15.38pts
P/L: +5.38pts


Available to new and existing customers. Bet at least £10 (can be £10 win or £5 each-way) on the Euro 2024 Outright Winner market and get a free bet per every goal scored by your selection in the Group stage of the tournament. Opt in required. T&Cs apply.

Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.