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2 vs 1
November 20, 2012 7:45 PM GMT
Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) — Lisboa
Referee:‬ V. Kassai‎
Attendance:‬ 47065‎

Benfica - Celtic Preview: Hoops can qualify for knockout stages with first ever win at Benfica

Neil Lennon's side have lost on every single one of their visits to the Portuguese capital side, while the hosts are yet to taste defeat domestically this season

By Tim Poole

UEFA Champions League, Celtic v Barcelona, Tony Watt, Javier Mascherano
Getty Images

Pereira, Jardel, Garay, Almeida
Matic, Gaitan, Perez
Lima, Cardozo, Rodrigo

Matthews, Ambrose, Wilson, Mulgrew
Brown, Wanyama,
Comons, Ledley, Lassad


Benfica welcomed skipper Luisao back into the fold against Moreirense at the weekend after a two-month suspension and the defensive stalwart may be in contention to replace Ezequiel Garay once again.

Coach Jorge Jesus has a wealth of attacking options to choose from, with Ola John, Eduardo Salvio and Melgarejo all having featured up front for the Portuguese side during the group stages.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon, meanwhile, will be without midfielder James Forrest for a game that could potentially send his side through to the tournament's knockout stages.

The Hoops will have Kris Commons and Georgios Samaras available, however, despite the pair making way during their side's 2-0 win against Aberdeen on Saturday.

Scott Brown, Gary Hooper and Joe Ledley are carrying knocks into the tie, while Lennon could well look to revelationary young striker Tony Watt if he chooses to utilise a more attacking approach.

  • Benfica are unbeaten domestically this season and have only lost twice in all competitions - at home to Barcelona and away to Spartak Moscow in the Champions League.
  • The Portuguese outfit's star striker Oscar Cardozo (pictured right) is joint-second in the Portuguese Liga's top scorer charts with six.
  • The Lisbon side come into the game on a run of form that has seen them win all but one of their last seven games.
  • Celtic are currently top of the SPL, but have not ran away with the league as many anticipated they might, currently sitting just a point ahead of Hibernian with a game in hand.
  • The Glasgow club became the first British team to lift the European Cup 45 years ago in Lisbon.
  • Hoops midfielder Victor Wanyama became the first Kenyan to net a Champions league goal when he headed home against Barcelona last time out.

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ Nov 20, 2012 Benfica 2 - Celtic 1
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ Sep 19, 2012 Celtic 0 - Benfica 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Last Five Matches
Apr 20, 2014Benfica 2 - SC Olhanense 0POR1
Apr 16, 2014Benfica 3 - Porto 1TDeP
Apr 13, 2014FC Arouca 0 - Benfica 2POR1
Apr 10, 2014Benfica 2 - AZ 0EL
Apr 7, 2014Benfica 4 - Rio Ave 0POR1
Dec 11, 2013FC Barcelona 6 - Celtic 1UCL
Nov 26, 2013Celtic 0 - AC Milan 3UCL
Nov 6, 2013Ajax 1 - Celtic 0UCL
Oct 22, 2013Celtic 2 - Ajax 1UCL
Oct 1, 2013Celtic 0 - FC Barcelona 1UCL
Team News
Available Squads
24Ezequiel GarayDefender
28L. MelgarejoStriker
18Toto SalvioMidfielder
21Nemanja MatićMidfielder
30André AlmeidaMidfielder
35Enzo Nicolás PérezMidfielder
7Ó. CardozoStriker
24Ola JohnStriker
13Paulo LopesGoalkeeper
14Maxi PereiraDefender
33Jardel Nivaldo VieiraDefender
30Bruno CésarMidfielder
20Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián GaitánMidfielder
1Fraser ForsterGoalkeeper
2Adam MatthewsDefender
15E. AmbroseDefender
6Kelvin WilsonDefender
21Charles MulgrewDefender
2M. LustigDefender
8Scott BrownMidfielder
28Joe LedleyMidfielder
12Victor WanyamaMidfielder
9Georgios SamarasStriker
11Gary HooperStriker
24Lukasz ZaluskaGoalkeeper
15Kris CommonsMidfielder
20Paddy McCourtMidfielder
33Beram KayalMidfielder
36Niouoi LassadStriker
-Tony WattStriker
Players to Watch
Ó. Cardozo
Ó. Cardozo
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
4 1 0 0
With six goals to his name in the Portuguese league and two in European competition, the experienced marksman is sure to cause a stir amongst the Celtic backline. Cardozo is not Benfica's only threat, yet how the Hoops contain the 29-year-old Paraguayan may well determine the outcome of the Scottish champions' fortunes.
Georgios Samaras
Georgios Samaras
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
9 2 3 0
Samaras has caused mayhem in recent European games against Barcelona and his danger from set-pieces will again be crucial. Whether the Greek striker is played as a lone frontman or alongside another of the Hoops' forwards, his ability to sneak a goal could be the difference between defeat and another historic night.
Benfica will be heavy favourites in their own backyard and coming off the back of four straight wins in all competitions, but the Hoops' penchant for great European nights may just see them earn a vital point.
Editor's Prediction
Celtic 1
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
C. Ronaldo C. Ronaldo
Real Madrid
14 1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
10 1
Messi Messi
8 2
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Atl. Madrid
7 0
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Manchester City
6 2