Benfica’s presence in the Europa League final is not a surprise. This team have now accumulated a lot of experience of big matches. They confirmed their status in Portugal by winning the championship and the cup. For me, they are the favourites.
It is advantage Benfica. But European finals are like national finals, so anything can happen. But if I had to bet, I’d bet on Benfica.
Benfica earn merit for their consistency. Step by step, they are being rewarded for the quality of their work.
Still, we saw that the Europa League was a second cup for teams eliminated from the Champions League, because they all were here.
Of course not Sevilla, but there was Juventus, Lyon … the quality of the Champions League makes the difference compared to the Europa League.
I like to watch the Europa League starting from the quarter-finals. For the first rounds, it feels like it’s only designed to keep players happy who aren't playing in the league.
As soon as the quarter-finals start, it becomes more interesting.
Three of the four teams in a European final are also Spanish, so let’s congratulate Spanish football for that.
As for Benfica's team, Lima has overshadowed Oscar Cardoso a bit, because he has been injured for a while.
Lima was already known from last year, but he didn’t play all the time because Cardoso was already physically present. Lima is a more mobile player. Cardoso has been injured for a very long time, so Lima has been more present.
Meanwhile, most of the Sevilla team has played for top clubs; they didn’t have their chance in the top teams, they didn’t manage to establish themselves.
Now they are showing that they have the quality, and players like that, they bite in finals.
Benfica will still have to be careful because Gameiro, M’Bia, Rakitic are all excellent players.
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- Europa League