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Michael Taylor 4th Nov 2009 - 19:59

Brilliant Benfica could run riot at Goodison

Everton, so consistently tough and hard to break-down under David Moyes, were left battered, bruised and embarrassed in just five minutes by Benfica two weeks ago, and it could be exactly the same story this week as the Portuguese head to Liverpool.

In the build up to the Toffees' big game in Lisbon, Moyes went on the defensive with claims that he'd be satisfied with a point, it wasn't until the second half of the game though that we realised the task facing any visitors to Estadio da Luz.

After going into the break one up nobody could have predicted just how rampant Jorge Jesus' Encarnados would be in the second period.

Three goals in five crazy minutes, all beautifully crafted, pushed a dagger firmly in to the hearts of every single Everton fan as well as highlighting the massive step they have to make if they're to be considered genuine Europa League contenders.

Paraguay international Oscar Cardozo was the hero with a dramatic double all within the space of two minutes, which in the process gave further credibility to his claim as one of the world's hottest properties.

The former Newell's Old Boys star has formed a dream partnership with Javier Saviola and, after witnessing the pair torture the Everton defence to combine for four goals, you have to think they'll be at it again this week.

Saviola is a very tempting 13/2 shot to notch the game's opener but I find the 9/1 about Cardozo notching two or more goals again and absolute steel, especially against a Toffees' side without their usual grit.

As for Everton, it could be the returning Yakubu who poses the biggest threat.

The big Nigerian has been a huge loss for Moyes' over the past year but if he can get back into his goalscoring vain without too much trouble then he'll be a snip at 7/4 to find the net anytime.

It all goes to say that I think there will be goals in this one.

Everton learned the dangers of sitting back against the silky Portuguese side so this time the message has to be 'make them defend'.

If they do manage to get the likes of Tim Cahill supporting the front man then they could have real joy - we all know how dangerous Everton can be from set pieces as well.

Over two total match goals looks about fair at evens, while I regret to say that I think the English side will struggle to get revenge - my favourite bet on the correct score market has to be the 17/2 about a 2-1 away victory.

Roma v Fulham

Roy Hodgson's Fulham continue to surprise and while they face a tough trip to Rome, you get the feeling that nothing is impossible for the plucky West Londoners.

They came close to defeating Claudio Ranieri's giants two weeks ago and, after an inspiring comeback at Manchester City, they are sure to travel to the Italian capital keen to make a big impression.

The game plan is simple, keep it tight and try and hit Roma on the break.

Bobby Zamora has found a bit of form lately and could be decent value to notch the first of the game at 8/1, while Clint Dempsey is making a real name for his self and is available at 4/1 to score at anytime.

In terms of match betting, Hodgson would no doubt take another 1-1 draw - a decent chance at 6/1.

Hamburg v Celtic

Scottish football seems to be in a real state at the moment - an idea perfectly backed up by Celtic's horrendous form in the Europa League.

Hamburg were the latest benefactors of the Bhoys' inconsistency as they marched away from Celtic Park with the three points thanks to a vital second half strike from Swedish international Marcus Berg.

It's now do or die for Tony Mowbray's side as they make a daunting trip to the HSH Nordbank Arena, and you have to say they are nearly unbackable against the classy Germans.

HSV start as red-hot 8/15 favourites but you have to say the short price is more than justified.

Celtic have traditionally been poor on their European travels, and I certainly won't be backing them to change that trend on this occasion.





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