UCL Preview: Chelsea battles PSG; Zenit hosts Benfica

UCL Preview: Chelsea battles PSG; Zenit hosts Benfica

European Soccer

UCL Preview: Chelsea battles PSG; Zenit hosts Benfica

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EdinsonCavaniPSG1-ChelseaGoal2015 (Getty)

Two more teams will punch their tickets into the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Chelsea and Zenit Saint Petersburg, who currently trail against Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica, respectively, will look to overcome deficits at home.

The Blues captured an important away goal by way of John Obi Mikel, despite falling to PSG in the first leg, 2-1, while Benfica holds a 1-0 advantage over Zenit.

Here’s a closer look at Wednesday’s UCL matches:

Zenit Saint Petersburg vs. Benfica, at Petrovsky Stadium, 12 p.m., Fox Sports 1, ESPN Deportes, Fox Soccer 2GO

It took Jonas’ stoppage-time winner to give Benfica a lead heading into Wednesday’s meeting in Russia. Following a red card, which resulted off of a second yellow card for Zenit’s Domenico Criscito, the Brazilian headed the ensuing free kick home.

While Zenit does trail in the tie, both sides remain firmly alive in this round of 16 fixture. The Russian club boasts the likes of attacking talents Hulk and Axel Witsel, both of whom have the capabilities to take over a match.

Despite not having the recognition of Hulk, striker Artyom Dzyuba is the danger man for Zenit. Dzyuba leads his club in scoring this season in Champions League play, tallying six goals in seven games played.

Benfica looks to return to the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2011-12 season, while Zenit seeks its first birth into the the final eight.

Chelsea vs. Paris Saint-Germain, at Stamford Bridge, 2:45 p.m., Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes, Fox Soccer 2GO

While Mikel’s goal against PSG essentially voided the Nigerian’s earlier mistake in the first leg, Chelsea cannot afford similar letdowns when the teams face off in London.

Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic displayed his brilliance on a free kick in the 39th minute, after drawing a foul on Mikel outside of the box. Ironically enough, it was the Chelsea midfielder whom Ibrahimovic’s set piece deflected off of, leaving Thibaut Courtois no chance in goal.

PSG managed eight shots on target at Parc de Princes when the sides first met; however, the Blues were similarly threatening in the final third, firing five shots on Kevin Trapp’s goal.

With defender John Terry still battling injury, Chelsea will likely be without its captain once more on Wednesday. The club may look to shift Branislav Ivanovic inside and bring on Baba Rahman or Kennedy to fill Ivanovic’s role. Additionally, after missing the first leg due to yellow card suspension, the Blues will have midfielder Nemanja Matic back in the squad.

In seven meetings between the clubs, both Chelsea and PSG have won twice, in addition to three draws.

What do you think of Wednesday’s matchups? What results are you expecting?

Share your thoughts below.

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