Benfica is trying to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time when they face Inter Milan, who find themselves in the quarter-finals for the first time in twelve years.
The Portuguese club reached the quarter-finals for the second consecutive season, but lost all five of its Champions League matches at this stage, while Inter had not reached this stage since losing to Schalke 04 in 2010/11, while it was holding the title.
While Benfica scored 23 goals in the competition this season, two goals ahead of Napoli’s best attack, seven of them in the Round of 16, Inter suffered much more in the Round of 16 against another Portuguese Porto, to reach the quarter-finals, with Romelu Lukaku’s late goal in Milan proving to be the only goal. for a double tie.
It is the only UEFA Champions League quarter-final this season that does not feature at least one domestic champion.
The winner of the current quarter will face AC Milan or Napoli in the semi-finals.
Inter won the Champions’ Cup for the second time at the expense of Benfica, as Helenio Herrera’s team won 1-0 in the 1965 final at home in San Siro thanks to a goal from Jair in the 43rd.H minute.
The two teams did not meet until the fourth round of the 2003/2004 UEFA Cup, the first leg in Lisbon that ended in a goalless draw, before Alberto Zaccheroni’s Inter won 4-3 in Milan.
Benfica’s record in European Cup quarter-finals is as follows: 8 qualifiers and 10 eliminations (including the five in that era (UEFA Champions League))
Benfica participates in the UEFA Champions League for 17 yearsH times and 12H in 13 seasons. He had only missed out on the competition in 2020/21, when he was defeated by PAOK in the third qualifying round. The Portuguese reached the seventh knockout stage, qualifying in consecutive seasons for only the second time, after 2015/16 and 2016/17.
Benfica, who finished third in the Portuguese League in 2021/22, 17 points behind champions Porto and 11 points behind runners-up Sporting Lisbon, reached seven C1 finals, winning the title in 1961 and 1962, but losing in five consecutive matches, most of them . Most recently against AC Milan in 1990.
The Portuguese started the season under new coach Roger Schmidt in the third qualifying round, with two wins over Midtjylland, and Goncalo Ramos scoring a hat-trick in the first leg. Then they easily beat Dynamo Kyiv in the playoffs.
Benfica continued to win four out of six matches in Group H, with the two exceptions being a 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain, and seizing the lead, ahead of its French rivals, 6-1 over Maccabi Haifa in the sixth round.
Facing Club Brugge in the Round of 16, Benfica won 2-0 in Belgium and 5-1 at home to reach the C1 quarter-finals two seasons in a row for the first time since 1968/69.
The loss to Liverpool in the first leg of the quarter-finals last season was one of only three matches in the last 25 European matches that Benfica played at home (16 wins).
Former Inter midfielder Joao Mario has scored in his last five Champions League matches, including four penalties.
Benfica have already faced Italian teams in the Champions League this season, beating Juventus 2-1 in Turin in the second round and 4-3 in Lisbon in the fifth round of the group stage.
Prior to their victory in Turin, Benfica had not faced an Italian club since losing away (2-4) and at home (1-2) to Napoli in the group stage of the 2016/17 Champions League.
The Eagles played 33 matches against Italian clubs in 11 wins, 5 draws and 17 defeats. At home, the record is 7 wins, 4 draws, and 3 losses.
Benfica have not faced an Italian opponent in a knockout match since winning 2-1 on aggregate in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League semi-final against Juventus (2-1, 0-0).
Benfica vs the Italians in the knockout stage: 5 qualifiers and 7 eliminations.
Besides losing to Inter Milan in the 1965 European Cup Final, Benfica have twice lost in the European Champions Cup final to Milan, 2-1 in London in 1963 and 1-0 in Vienna in 1990.
Inter’s record in the Champions Cup quarter-finals is 8 qualifiers and 4 qualifiers. Inter have lost four out of six Champions League quarter-finals since being named.
This is the Nerazzurri’s 16th season in the UEFA Champions League, their fifth in a row, and their longest since making their 10th consecutive appearance between 2002/03 and 2011/12.
This year, Inter started their campaign in Group C and ended with a 2-0 defeat against Bayern Munich, but the club remained unbeaten between those two defeats, picking up ten points including four crucial points against Barcelona (1-0, 3-3) and winning. 4-0 at home against Viktoria Plzen in the fifth round.
AC Milan then beat Benfica’s rivals Porto, winning 1-0 in Milan and drawing 0-0 in Portugal.
Inter finished second in Serie A in 2021/22, two points behind rivals AC Milan.
Inter have only won five of their last 16 away matches in the Champions League (D4 L7).
The first leg of the round of 16 against Porto was Inter’s first match against a Portuguese club since the group stage in the 2006/07 Champions League, when it lost 1-0 at Sporting Lisbon, but won at home with the same score.
Inter have only won once in Portugal, 2-0 against Boavista in the second leg of the UEFA Cup third round in December 1996. Their away record against Portuguese clubs is 5 draws and 4 defeats; They’ve drawn 4 of the 6 matches since that victory over Boavista.
Prior to the Round of 16, the Nerazzurri had not faced a Portuguese team in a knockout match since beating Porto in the 2004/05 Champions League Round of 16 (1-1, 3-1).
This season’s victory over Porto saw the Nerazzurri record a total of 6 qualifiers and 2 eliminations in home and away matches against Portuguese clubs. They have won their last five doubles matches.
We know each other…
Benfica president Rui Costa has spent most of his footballing career in Italy, representing Fiorentina for seven seasons (1994-2001) and AC Milan for five (2001-2006). Among Rui Costa’s colleagues at Milan was Filippo Inzaghi, brother of Inter coach Simone.
Joao Mario scored 4 goals in 69 matches in all competitions for Inter between 2016 and 2019.
Gilberto played in Italy for Fiorentina (2015/2016), Verona (loan 2016) and Serie B Latina (loan 2016-2017).
They have played together:
David Neres and Andre Onana (Ajax 2017-22)
Choice of colleagues
Nicolas Otamendi and Lautaro Martinez, Joaquin Correa (Argentina)
Julian Draxler and Robin Goossens (Germany)
Otamendi and Martinez were both part of Argentina’s 2022 FIFA Lund Cup winning squad.
Otamendi was also part of the Argentina squad that beat Italy 3-0 in the Finalissima at Wembley on 1any June 2022. Niccolo Barella has played 90 minutes for Italy.