I expect this to be a relatively open game. I don't know much about Benfica but some of what I've read seems to indicate that they haven't been great so far this season and they will be missing a few key defenders. This surely means that they are vulnerable at the back. CSKA when in good form can take advantage of that.
CSKA have created some good chances in recent games but Vitinho has let them down. He doesn't score and he doesn't pass when that would be the much better option. If he gets his head right then he can produce for the club again. Zhamaletidnov scored the winner for them at the weekend on his ful debut so he will be full of confidence. They key for CSKA is the midfield duo of Dzagoev and Golovin who can both pick a pass and open up a defence, especially when that defence might be frail in Benfica's case. Golovin, in particular, has had a great start to the season.
CSKA's manager, Goncharenko, has already said that they are playing for second place as he says Man United will win the group, therefore you have to believe he is targetting this game. Their second game is against Man United so he may not be expecting anything from that. With that in mind he will not want to start the group stage with two defeats or pick up just one point. I think he will be going for it at some point in this game, especially if they go behind which will open the game up.
CSKA have a well documented old defensive three who may be vulnerable to pass and a challenge, since they had a very easy game on Friday as Amkar Perm didn't do much going forward. If tested, they may make mistakes which lead to goals for Benfica. All things considered I'm going for over 2.5 goals.
Pick: Over 2.5 goals
Bookmaker: ➾ Pinnacle
Stake: 8 units
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