BENFICA have been a machine this season and they could be about to drill the final nail in Scott Parker's Belgian managerial coffin when they welcome beleaguered Brugge for the second leg of the Round of 16 in the Champions League.
The Portuguese side cruised to a first leg 2-0 win a couple of weeks ago and this looks like a foregone conclusion for them to advance to the quarter finals in a bloodless path.
Benfica are enjoying an excellent season. They are currently eight points clear of Porto at the top of the Portuguese League and flying under Roger Schmidt after eight wins in a row in all competitions including the first leg in Belgium.
In fact, they have lost just once in all competitions all season – a surprise 3-0 defeat at Braga in December and look lively dark horses for the Champions League itself.
The same cannot be said for the Belgian champions. Their surprise appointment of former Fulham and Bournemouth boss Parker three months ago has been a disaster.
A 3-0 pumping from Oostende on Friday night has left Parker on the brink. Since the start of November, they have won just two games in 15 attempts in all competitions. They are 20 points behind current leaders Genk and Parker admitted he could be sacked any day now.
Despite Brugge having to win by two goals to get back into the tie, Benfica are still chunky odds-on favourites to get a second win in the tie at 1/2 with Betfred.
Brugges can be backed at 7/1 with UniBet and the draw is 15/4 with bet365.
Their only meeting was that first leg to last month when second half goals from Joao Mario from the spot and David Neres gave the Lisbon side a 2-0 lead.
Mario as been in fine form recently with eight goals in his last seven games including that penalty in Belgium. He is a nice price of 13/5 with bet365 to score anytime.
On loan Ajax striker Noa Lang is a threat for the Belgians and has scored three goals since January. He is 5/1 to net with Paddy Power.
Benfica could lose this by a goal and still go through so there is that to be wary about, but they are on such a roll this season that's it hard to see anything than another impressive display against a team with zero confidence.
Parker seems certain to be fired barring a footballing miracle and this should hasten his departure. Benfica have scored at least two goals in their nine games and they should win this with a bit to spare. The 6/5 for them to win minus a goal looks a good shout with Betfred.
Benfica have won to nil in seven of the eight games they have won in a row and can shut out Brugges here again at 6/4 with Coral.
This UEFA Champions League match between Benfica and Club Brugge will be played on Mar 7, 2023 and kick off at 20:00.