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UEFA Champions League

  • 27 March 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz), Lisboa
  • Referee: P. Tagliavento
  • • Attendance: 60000
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Benfica - Chelsea Preview: Ramires & David Luiz return to former club as Blues search for first away win in Europe

The Eagles are unbeaten at the Estadio da Luz in this season's Champions League, with Roberto Di Matteo's side struggling to find victories on the road in the 2011-12 competition


PROBABLE LINEUPS

BENFICA

Artur
Pereira, Luisao, Jardel, Emerson
Javi Garcia
Gaitan, Witsel, Bruno Cesar
Cardozo, Rodrigo

CHELSEA

Cech
Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole
Lampard, Essien
Sturridge, Mata, Ramires
Drogba


Pablo Aimar came off of the bench only to receive a red card against Olhanense at the weekend so Jorge Jesus may choose to stick with Nicolas Gaitan, Axel Witsel and Bruno Cesar in midfield.

Nelson Oliveira will compete with Rodrigo for a place in the Benfica attack, with the latter boasting a stronger goalscoring record this season.

Defender Ezequiel Garay and striker Yannick Djalo will be missing due to injury.

Roberto Di Matteo is hoping that Branislav Ivanovic can recover from a thigh injury in time to feature, but if not, Jose Bosingwa will start at right-back. In the centre of defence, David Luiz could return at the expense of Gary Cahill against his old club.

Otherwise, Di Matteo is unlikely to sway too much from the side that beat Napoli in the previous round. Didier Drogba will probably be preferred to Fernando Torres in attack while Raul Meireles is also in contention for a place in midfield.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Benfica had not suffered defeat in the Portuguese Liga until they lost to Guimaraes in February. That match was the first of a run of three games without victory, including a 3-2 loss to Porto, who now top the table.
  • They went on to beat Pacos and Beira Mar but trail Porto by a point following a 0-0 draw against Olhanense on Sunday.
  • Benfica are unbeaten at home in the Champions League this season and have only suffered defeat against Porto at the Estadio da Luz domestically.
  • Striker Rodrigo has bagged eight goals in the league for Benfica this season but scored just once in 17 matches while on loan with Bolton from Real Madrid during the 2010-11 campaign.
  • The Eagles overturned a 3-2 first-leg deficit to progress past Russian side Zenit St Petersburg in the previous round.
  • Chelsea will meet Benfica on Tuesday for the first time. Portuguese sides have not been kind to their English counterparts this season; Sporting Lisbon knocked Manchester City out of the Europa League while Benfica played a part in Manchester United's Champions League elimination.
  • The Blues do have two former Eagles players in their ranks to help them out on the night. David Luiz and Ramires were team-mates in Lisbon before joining Chelsea.
  • Di Matteo's side have not won away from home in the Champions League this season. They lost games against Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen and drew with Genk and Valencia.
  • Didier Drogba has four goals in four matches in the Champions League this season, leaving the Ivorian only one goal short of his current Premier League tally, which stands at five goals in 20 games.

Players to watch

A. Witsel

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
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Part of Belgium's 'golden generation', the midfielder has been linked with a potential move to Chelsea in the summer and he could be handed the reins in midfield on Tuesday night. At only 23, there will be a tremendous amount of responsibility placed on his shoulders if he does indeed go up against the likes of Frank Lampard and Michael Essien in the centre of the park.

Ramires

Position: Midfielder

Games: 4

  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
Both of Chelsea's former Benfica players will have important roles to play at the Estadio da Luz – David Luiz in helping John Terry deal with Oscar Cardozo, and Ramires in making an impact in his new left-sided position. The Brazilian will be tasked with keeping a lid on right-back Maxi Pereira as well as supporting the attack – the Uruguayan scored in both legs of Benfica's last 16 tie against Zenit St. Petersburg.

Editor's Prediction

Chelsea's away record in the Champions League this season has not been strong and Benfica should edge this encounter but the Blues will remain optimistic if they can keep it close and grab an away goal. They have shown more resilience since Roberto Di Matteo took over as manager and should be capable of keeping themselves in the tie ahead of the second leg.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Benfica

Chelsea

Wins
0
0
3
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

SL Benfica SLB
SL Benfica Benfica
Draw
Chelsea FC CHE
Chelsea FC Chelsea
21%
69%

Top 3 Predictions

SL Benfica SLB
0 - 2
Chelsea FC CHE
SL Benfica SLB
1 - 2
Chelsea FC CHE
SL Benfica SLB
1 - 3
Chelsea FC CHE

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