Champions League post-match reaction

Benfica Astana

Speaking after Benfica’s 2-0 victory over FC Astana, head coach Rui Vitória admitted that his side had struggled to break down their organised and resolute opponents. He praised his players’ patience, which ultimately brought them a “just victory.”

“We encountered a compact team that closed down the spaces between defence and midfield, and we had some difficulties.”

“We needed to move the ball with more intensity, to stretch our opponents. We achieved this in the second half.”




Highlights: Benfica 2 - 0 Astana

Two goals in the second-half sealed a victory against Champions League newcomers FC Astana. 

The Kazakhstan side showed their resilience in the first half and almost took the lead early in the second half after hitting the outside of Júlio César's post. Nico Gaitán gave the hosts the lead on the 51st minute before Mitroglou's tap in doubled the tally. 

Highlights




Squad List: Benfica x Astana

Rui Vitória revealed his 20-men squad list to face FC Astana in tomorrow's Champions League proper opener.

The team hailing from Kazakhastan will be Benfica's first opponents at the Estádio da Luz, with the match due to begin at the usual 19:45 BST time.

The manager had the luxury to have all players available to choose from except for Salvio who continues his recovery process.

Carcela, Cristante and Taarabt are some of the big names that have missed out.

Goalkeepers: Júlio César, and Ederson

Defenders: Lisandro López, Luisão, Eliseu, Sílvio, Jardel, André Almeida, and Nélson Semedo

Midfielders: Fejsa, Samaris, Gaitán, Gonçalo Guedes, Pizzi, Talisca, Victor Andrade, and Nuno Santos

Forwards: Mitroglou, Raúl Jiménez, and Jonas




Champions League pre-match conference

After 9 months without European football Benfica return to the Champions League, their 11th group stage campaign since the start of the new format, and face new boys Astana from Kazakhastan.

Rui Vitória was present at the pre-match conference, alongside right-back Nélson Semedo, and the manager said that the objective is clear despite alerting his players of the difficulties expected.

"Tomorrow we will begin a competition that we want to do well in. Start well and achieve the 3 points."

"We know it won't be easy, and if it was, it wouldn't be for us."




Benfica in Group C of Champions League

Benfica were drawn with Atlético de Madrid, Galatasaray and new boys FC Astana for the group stage proper of the 2015/16 Champions League.

Spanish side Atlético have caused some noise in recent years by reaching the final in Lisbon a couple of years back, however beaten by city rivals Real Madrid.

Galatasaray will also prove challenging opponents for Benfica. The Turkish giants hail from Istanbul and have the potential to cause damage in the group, especially at their home ground.




2015/16 UEFA Champions League draw looms

Benfica have entered Pot 1 of the UEFA Champions League 2015/16 Group Stage draw as Champions of Portugal, alongside seven other domestic Champions such as Barcelona, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

The draw takes place tomorrow (Thursday 27th August) in Monaco's Grimaldi Forum with a live stream from uefa.com starting at 16:45 BST (17:45 CET local time).

Pot 1: Barcelona, Chelsea, Bayern München, Juventus, Benfica, Paris, Zenit, PSV Eindhoven
Pot 2: Real Madrid, Atlético, Porto, Arsenal, Man. United, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Man. City
Pot 3: Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla, Lyon, Dynamo Kyiv, Olympiacos, CSKA Moskva, Galatasaray, Roma
Pot 4: BATE Borisov, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Wolfsburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Gent, Malmö, Astana

Each group will contain one team from each seeding pot and no team from the same association can be drawn in the same group, leaving Benfica with seven options from Pot 2.




Jesus calls youngsters for Champions League encounter

With nothing but pride to play for in Matchday 6 of the UEFA Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen, Benfica manager Jorge Jesus has opted for numerous changes including call-ups of Benfica B players João Teixeira and Gonçalo Guedes.

Portugal international Sílvio makes the first squad list selection of the season after being sidelined since April this year with a fractured leg.

Lisandro López, César, Cristante, Tiago and Nélson Oliveira returned to options.




Benfica's schedule for the last European match of the season revealed

Benfica published their programme for their last European game of the season against Bayer Leverkusen.

The «águias» have already confirmed the last place in Group C and no matter the result this Tuesday they are sure to finish bottom.

Manager Jorge Jesus will lead the training session tomorrow morning at 10:05 GMT, where the first 15 minutes will be open to the press. He will conduct the usual pre-match interview alongside a player at 19:00 GMT.

The German side will be given the opportunity for a light session at the Estádio da Luz ground in the same evening.




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