Apr 25, 2013 at 8.05pm UK at ‚ÄčSukru Saracoglu Stadium

Preview: Fenerbahce vs. Benfica

Preview: Fenerbahce vs. Benfica
© AP Photos
Sports Mole previews the first leg of the Europa League semi-final between Fenerbahce and Benfica.

Fenerbahce will attempt to secure a first-leg advantage when they welcome Portuguese outfit Benfica in the semi-finals of the Europa League on Thursday.

The home side overcame much-fancied Lazio in the previous round, while Benfica held off a late challenge from Newcastle United to book their spot in the final four of the competition.

Fenerbahce enter the match in good form having lost just one of their last five matches in all competitions, a run of form that has seen them move into second place in their domestic table, but they are seven points behind Galatasaray.

Benfica, meanwhile, are unbeaten in all competitions since the end of February. They currently sit four points clear of Porto in their domestic table having remarkably won 22 of their 26 league matches, remaining unbeaten in that period.

The Turkish outfit have no fresh injury concerns from their 2-0 defeat to Genclerbirligi at the weekend, with Dirk Kuyt and Pierre Webo expected to lead the line. Moussa Sow is also pushing for a start, but the forward may have to be content with a spot on the bench.

Former Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles is also expected to start in midfield, while there will be a spot in defence for former Everton defender Joseph Yobo.

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus, meanwhile, could once more leave Oscar Cardozo on the bench in favour of Ola John. Rodrigo is also pushing for a start, but is expected to join Cardozo on the sidelines. Much-coveted defender Ezequiel Garay is fit, however, after overcoming a muscular strain.

Recent form

Fenerbahce: WDWDL

Benfica: WWWDW

Possible lineups

Fenerbahce: Demirel; Korkmaz, Yobo, Ziegler, Gonul; Meireles, Baroni, Ucan, Erkin; Kuyt, Webo

Benfica: Artur; Almeida, Garay, Luisao, Melgarejo; Gaitan, Matic, Perez, Salvio; Lima, John

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Fenerbahce's Pierre Webo in action for Cameroon on August 12, 2009
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