Benfica vs. Fenerbahce Key Battles


Ola John of SL Benfica (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

Ola John of SL Benfica (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

A spot in the UEFA Europa League final is on the line on Thursday at the Estadio da Luz in Portugal as Benfica hosts Turkish side Fenerbahce.

Fenerbahce currently leads the two-legged tie by an aggregate of 1-0 after Egemen Korkmaz scored the lone goal of the first leg in Turkey last Thursday.

With plenty on the line in Portugal, here is a list of three matchups that could decide the fate of both clubs on Thursday.

Nemanja Matic/Andre Gomes (Benfica) vs. Mehmet Topal/Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce)

Both clubs lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation during their match in Turkey and the defensive midfield duos of both clubs should play a key role in deciding which club advances to the final.

Both duos have a good amount of experience and they will play a key role in front of the back four to deny the opposing attack a bevy of scoring opportunities.

One other aspect of the defensive midfield duos to watch for is the physical nature of their play as Gomes and Topal both picked up yellow cards in the first leg for physical play.

Ola John (Benfica) vs. Gokhan Gomul (Fenerbahce)

Ola John had a horrible 64 minutes on the pitch during the first leg as he caused a penalty and picked up a yellow card right before the halftime whistle.

John was one of the worst players on the pitch in the first leg while Gomul was one of the best players on the pitch at right-back for Fenerbahce.

With John looking to prove himself in one of the biggest matches of the season for his club, look for the 20-year-old Dutchman to test the wily 28-year-old Turk on numerous occasions.

Lorenzo Melgarejo (Benfica) vs. Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce)

Just like John, Lorenzo Melgarejo had a rough night in Turkey last Thursday and the Benfica left-back will be looking to reverse his fortunes in front of the home crowd this week.

Melgarejo will be going up against one of the most experienced players in the tie in former Liverpool midfielder Dirk Kuyt.

The 32-year-old Kuyt has plenty of experience playing at the highest levels of club football and if he is contained by Melgarejo, Benfica could end advancing to the final in Amsterdam.

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90. 

1 Comment on "Benfica vs. Fenerbahce Key Battles"

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  1. Raúl Meireles is injuried. He traveled with the team but will not play. Topal traveled too but due to the yellow cards will not be able to play.

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