Football Bet of the Day: Salzburg to win the battle but lose the war

Salzburg players celebrate
Salzburg have an excellent home record in the UEL
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We're speeding towards the latter stages of the Europa League, and our regular columnist Kevin Hatchard is back with four more selections.

"Salzburg's list of Europa League scalps taken in Austria is impressive, and although they are unlikely to progress, they can save face with a great display."

Back Benfica to qualify v Dinamo Zagreb at [1.85]

Salzburg to make dignified exit

Salzburg v Napoli
Thursday 14 March, 17:55
Live on BT Sport Extra

I must admit I was surprised by the scale of Napoli's first-leg win against a Salzburg team that has sparkled in this competition. Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti underlined his commitment to winning another European trophy by selecting a strong team, and there were some notable performers. Midfielder Fabian Ruiz was outstanding, and Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik was on the scoresheet.

Salzburg never recovered from a poor start in southern Italy, but they will push hard for a way back into the tie at their Austrian base. Salzburg won all six of their group matches, and have won 11 of their last 13 UEL games at home. If you look at their list of scalps, it's pretty impressive - they have beaten Schalke, Marseille, Lazio, Celtic, RB Leipzig, Real Sociedad and Club Brugge, and all since the start of December 2016.

Napoli are in control of the tie, but they have only won two of their last seven away matches, and I think they'll be put under massive pressure in this game. Nikola Maksimovic and Kalidou Koulibaly are both suspended, and that defence could be exposed. I'll back Salzburg to win the second leg at [2.5].

Lage's men to turn the tie around

Benfica v Dinamo Zagreb
Thursday 14 March, 20:00
Live on BT Sport Extra

Dinamo Zagreb have been outstanding throughout this competition, and they claimed a landmark win in last week's first leg, seizing a 1-0 advantage to take to Lisbon. Benfica have been on a roll under new coach Bruno Lage, but they failed to take their chances in Croatia. However, you get the sense that Lage isn't panicking, and there is genuine belief that away from the maelstrom of Zagreb, Benfica will be able to assert themselves.

Benfica have had a wobble recently, and their 2-2 draw at home to Belenenses at the weekend (they were 2-0 up) means they have win just two of their last five matches. That said, Benfica recently came through a high-pressure match against Porto at the Dragao, winning 2-1 against their title rivals. I think they can cope with this occasion too, and Dinamo lost their last away game in the UEL 2-1 at Viktoria Plzen. The absence of the suspended Marin Leovac and Ivan Sunjic won't help their cause.

Benfica have lost just once at home since the first week of November, and with players like Jonas and Joao Felix in attack, I think they can turn this tie around. I'll back them to qualify at [1.85].

Eagles can soar into last eight

Inter Milan v Eintracht Frankfurt
Thursday 14 March, 20:00
Live on BT Sport ESPN

Although they appeared a little overwhelmed by the occasion last week, Eintracht Frankfurt eventually recovered, and stopped giving Inter Milan so much respect. They flew at the Italian giants in the second half, and will feel that they really should have an advantage to take to the San Siro.

Despite that mild sense of disappointment, Frankfurt now have a great chance to progress. A score draw or a win in 90 minutes would see them through, and I'd be incredibly surprised to see another goalless stalemate. Frankfurt are unbeaten in 2019, they have won four of their last five matches (including Monday's 3-0 win at Fortuna Dusseldorf) and they put six goals past Shakhtar Donetsk across two legs in the last 32. The loss of Croatian sensation Ante Rebic to injury is a blow, but Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller have 29 league goals and 11 Europa League goals between them, so they can compensate.

Inter have won their last three home matches, but none of those victims was of the calibre of Eintracht Frankfurt. Inter went out of the Coppa Italia at home to Lazio in late December, and in two of their three home games in the group stage of the Champions League they drew 1-1 with Barcelona and - catastrophically - PSV. Star striker Mauro Icardi is still out of action because of a dispute with the club, with Lautaro Martinez and Kwadwo Asamoah are suspended.

This will be tight, but I think Eintracht will score at some stage, and they have already won at Lazio and Marseille in this competition. The odds for them to qualify are a bit disappointingly skinny at [1.78], so instead I'll back the Eagles Draw No Bet at [2.34].

Ben Yedder to make his mark

Slavia Prague v Sevilla
Thursday 14 March, 20:00
Live on BT Sport 3

Sevilla are in a big hole after twice blowing the lead at home to Slavia Prague, and realistically only a win for Andalusians will now see them survive. At least they can call upon some in-form strikers to aid their cause. Wissam Ben Yedder rattled in a hat-trick in the weekend's 5-2 la Liga win over Real Sociedad, and he has scored eight goals in his last eight appearances in all competitions, including a goal in the first leg.

Slavia couldn't keep Ben Yedder out in the first leg, and I think the Europa League's joint-top scorer can find the net again.

Kevin Hatchard 2018-19 Europa League P/L

Points Staked: 51
Points Returned: 49.65
P/L: -1.35 points

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