Spartak Moscow - Benfica Preview: Muscovites must make the most of home advantage to kick-start their campaign
Both the Red-Whites and the Eagles will look for points here knowing that with Barcelona in Group G, realistically, there is only one other qualification spot up for grabs
By Gregor MacGregor
Makeev, Bryzgalov, Suchy, Kombarov
Jurado, Ari, Bil'yov
Pereira, Jardel, Garay, Melgarejo
Salvio, Matic, Martins
Following their narrow 2-1 loss to Anzhi Makhachkala at the weekend, Spartak coach Unai Emery must decide whether to give on-loan attacking midfielder Jurado a starting place in the team. The youngster's creativity may be needed with Spartak playing at home, and the desperate need for points, especially given that Aiden McGeady is still injured.
The rest of the line-up will most likely be similar to the side that played on Saturday, with Rafael Carioca retaining his place in the team as Romulo is out for the long term, and Dmitri Kombarov likely to drop back to left-back. Sergei Parshivlyuk and Soslan Gatagov are still missing with knee injuries.
However, Juan Insaurralde serves a one-game ban following his red card on Matchday 2, meaning that 19-year-old starlet Sergey Bryzgalov will most likely take his place.
The visitors have almost a fully fit squad to choose from. With Luisao not playing due to his continuing ban, Jardel will continue at the back with Ezequiel Garay. In midfield Nemanja Matic will supply the robustness as Aimar, Gaitan and Carlos Martins try to provide the ammunition for Oscar Cardozo to fire home.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Spartak Moscow lost their third successive league game when losing to Anzhi on Saturday - their worst run since November 2009.
- Spartak's home record in the Champions League against teams from Portugal is W1 D2 L1.
- So far the Spartachi are without a point in Group G after two 3-2 defeats: away against Barcelona and at home to Celtic, as Spartak conceded a 2-1 lead in both games.
- Benfica have the unenvious record of being the team to have committed the most fouls so far in this season's Champions League: 43 offences.
- The Eagles have scored 348 goals in total in the European Cup.
- Key Benfica defender Luisao (pictured) is banned from all competitions until November 14 after attacking a referee in a pre-season friendly against Fortuna Dusseldorf in the summer.
Top 3 Predictions
Spartak Moscow 1-2 Benfica
- 23.97 %
Spartak Moscow 1-1 Benfica
- 13.36 %
Spartak Moscow 2-1 Benfica
- 11.99 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||07 Nov 2012||Benfica 2 - Spartak Moscow 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||23 Oct 2012||Spartak Moscow 2 - Benfica 1|
|11 Apr 2014||Spartak Moscow 1 - Kryliya Sovetov 0||RUS1|
|04 Apr 2014||Spartak Moscow 0 - Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast 1||RUS1|
|30 Mar 2014||Lokomotiv Moscow 0 - Spartak Moscow 0||RUS1|
|22 Mar 2014||Krasnodar 4 - Spartak Moscow 0||RUS1|
|17 Mar 2014||Spartak Moscow 2 - Anzhi Makhachkala 2||RUS1|
|33||Jardel Nivaldo Vieira||Defender|
|35||Enzo Nicolás Pérez||Midfielder|
|20||Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián Gaitán||Midfielder|