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Preview: Benfica vs. Chelsea

Preview: Benfica vs. Chelsea
© AP Photos
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Europa League final between Benfica and Chelsea in Amsterdam.

Chelsea will attempt to secure European silverware for the second successive season when they clash with Portuguese outfit Benfica in the final of the Europa League on Wednesday.

Benfica overcame the challenge of Fenerbahce in the semi-finals, losing the first leg 1-0 in Turkey before securing a 3-1 win on their own patch to book their spot in the final of the competition.

It was more comfortable for the Premier League outfit, however, with Chelsea winning 2-1 in Switzerland against Basel before securing a 3-1 victory at home in their semi-final tie.

Despite winning 23 of their 29 matches in their domestic league this season, Benfica remarkably trail leaders Porto by one point, who were victorious when the pair clashed at the weekend. It has been an impressive season for Benfica, however, losing just five times in all competitions.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have recovered from an indifferent middle part of the season to all but secure third position in the league table and a place in the Champions League next season. However, there will be a change of manager at the club with Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho odds-on to replace Rafael Benitez at the end of the campaign.

The two sides met in the Champions League quarter-finals last season, with Chelsea winning 1-0 in Portugal before claiming a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge to book a last-four spot against Barcelona.

Benfica have no fresh injury concerns from their defeat to Porto at the weekend, but Oscar Cardozo is expected to return to the side after a late appearance from the bench. Andre Almeida is expected to shake off an injury but should he fail to recover, then Roderick will be handed a place in the team.

Nemanja Matic, a reported target for Manchester United, should also start in the middle of midfield against his former club. Meanwhile, the much-coveted Nicolas Gaitan will join Eduardo Salvio and Lima in attack.

Chelsea could be without skipper John Terry, who limped out of their 2-1 win over Aston Villa at the weekend. However, the former England defender was not expected to start, with Gary Cahill and former Benfica defender David Luiz forming a pair at the heart of the defence.

Victor Moses is also pushing for a start having enjoyed a successful season in Europe, but the former Wigan Athletic winger is expected to be named on the bench with Brazilian Oscar coming into the team to form a three-pronged attack with Juan Mata and Eden Hazard.

Recent form:

Benfica: LWWDL

Chelsea: WWWDW

Possible lineups:

Benfica: Artur; Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Almeida; Matic, Perez; Gaitan, Lima, Salvio; Cardozo

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres

Sports Mole says: 2-2 (Chelsea to win on penalties)


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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
JapanJapan114520
United StatesUnited States1010929
ChinaChina105823
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78419
AustraliaAustralia61815
Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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