Benfica - Barcelona Preview: The Portuguese team attempt to end the 30-year wait for a victory against a Spanish side
Matchday two in Group G sees Tito Vilanova's men travel to Lisbon to take on the two-time European champions
By Martin Macdonald
Pereira, Garay, Jardel, Melgarejo
Salvio, Aimar, Enzo Perez, Gaitan
Dani Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Cesc, Messi, Villa
Benficawill be without talismanic striker Oscar Cardozo, who has been ruled out of the Champions League encounter with a muscle injury. Manager Jorge Jesus will likely turn to Rodrigo Lima to feature in attack as the Brazilian bagged a brace against Pacos Ferreira at the weekend.
Also missing for the Portuguese side is Brazilian defender Luisao who is currently serving a two-month ban from football after pushing a referee in a pre-season friendly match.
Barcelona have been rocked by the news this week that Thiago Alcantara will be out for two months after rupturing his knee ligaments in the 3-2 win over Sevilla on Saturday.
However, Tito Vilanova has received some good news heading into the vital group stage match on Tuesday. Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta and Adriano have all been passed fit and took part in a full training session on Sunday. Gerard Pique will likely miss the match as he is still recovering from injury.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Benfica have not defeated a Spanish side on home turf for 30 years.
- Benfica and Barcelona both go into the match having enjoyed an unbeaten start in their respective domestic leagues.
- Whenever these two clubs have met, the winners have gone on to lift the European Cup, starting with Bela Guttmann's Benfica in the 1961 final in Berne.
- During the four-year reign of Tito Vilanova's predecessor, Josep Guardiola, Barcelona lost three of 24 Uefa Champions League away fixtures, winning 11 and drawing 10.
- Barcelona's record in Portugal is W3 D3 L4, with their last defeat coming at Os Belenenses in the 1987/88 Uefa Cup first round. They still progressed 2-1 on aggregate.
- Barcelona's latest meeting with Portuguese opposition ended in a 2-0 victory over Porto in the 2011 Uefa Super Cup.
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Top 3 Predictions
Benfica 1-3 Barcelona
- 20.13 %
Benfica 0-3 Barcelona
- 14.77 %
Benfica 1-2 Barcelona
- 8.41 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||5 Dec 2012||Barcelona 0 - Benfica 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||2 Oct 2012||Benfica 0 - Barcelona 2|
|15 Dec 2013||SC Olhanense 2 - Benfica 3||POR1|
|10 Dec 2013||Benfica 2 - Paris St. Germain (PSG) 1||UCL|
|6 Dec 2013||Benfica 2 - FC Arouca 2||POR1|
|1 Dec 2013||Rio Ave 1 - Benfica 3||POR1|
|27 Nov 2013||Anderlecht 2 - Benfica 3||UCL|
|33||Jardel Nivaldo Vieira||Defender|
|20||Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián Gaitán||Midfielder|
|35||Enzo Nicolás Pérez||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|