Zenit x Benfica: Pre Match Press

Benfica and Zenit face-off in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday 9th March. The Eagles hold a 1-0 aggregate lead after Jonas' late winner in the first leg. On Tuesday evening, Rui Vitória spoke to the press ahead of the game.




Poll: Fans want Fejsa to partner Lindelöf against Zenit

With Luisão and Lisandro López out injured, and Jardel suspended, Benfica have travelled to Russia with Victor Lindelöf as the only senior centre-back in their squad. This week, we ran a 48-hour Twitter poll to see who the fans want to partner the Swede in central defence against Zenit.




Opinion: The lowdown on Zenit Saint Petersburg

Zenit and Benfica go head-to-head in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday, with a place in the Champions League quarter-finals at stake. Ahead of the game, we quizzed Russian football expert Mikhail Morozov of Football-tv.ru and SportFM.ru on Zenit's preparations. For a detailed introduction to Zenit's squad, read Mikhail's previous article here.




Squad List: Zenit x Benfica

Benfica have taken 21 players to Russia ahead of their Champions League round of 16 tie with Zenit. The major absentees are Júlio César (ruptured adductor tendon), Luisão (broken arm), Lisandro López (lower back pain), Jardel and André Almeida (both suspended).

Victor Lindelöf is the only senior centre-back in the squad, meaning that Ljubomir Fejsa or Andreas Samaris could start in defence. Álex Grimaldo returns after a bout of flu. 21-year old goalkeeper Miguel Santos and 18-year old defender Rúben Dias have been promoted from Benfica’s B team, but are unlikely to feature.

Goalkeepers: Ederson, Paulo Lopes and Miguel Santos.

Defenders: Grimaldo, Lindelof, Eliseu, Sílvio, Nélson Semedo and Rúben Dias.

Midfielders: Fejsa, Samaris, Gaitán, Salvio, Gonçalo Guedes, Pizzi, Talisca, Carcela and Renato Sanches.

Forwards: Raúl, Mitroglou and Jonas.

Benfica start with a narrow 1-0 lead from the first leg. The game begins at 17:00 on Wednesday, at the 21,000-seater Petrovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg.




No room for complacency ahead of Zenit rematch

Despite securing a creditable victory over Zenit earlier this week, Benfica’s players are under no illusions as to the magnitude of the task that awaits them in Saint Petersburg on March 9th.

Renato Sanches, who produced another tireless display on Tuesday night, acknowledged that the Petrovsky Stadium will be a difficult place to play: "There are no favourites. Zenit scrapped hard here at the Luz, and in Russia it will be a different game. They will play at home, (and) it'll be very cold, but we will work hard to win and to progress."




Advantage Benfica after last-gasp winner

Benfica secured a deserved victory over Zenit at the Estádio da Luz on Tuesday night. They will take a slender one-goal advantage to Russia for the second leg on Wednesday 9th March.




Pre-Match Press: SL Benfica x Zenit

Eduardo Salvio spoke at the press conference ahead of Tuesday's game against Zenit at the Estádio da Luz.  

"I am one hundred percent. I have been training very well and I am glad to be back and to be able to help the team with all I have. The desire is always there. Like all players, I train to play and keep my position, although it is the coach who decides," Salvio began by saying. 




Squad List: SL Benfica x Zenit

Rui Vitória has called up 21 players for the game against Zenit at the Estádio da Luz on Tuesday. Luisão, Nuno Santos, Fejsa and Lisandro López remain injured.

Goalkeepers: Júlio César and Ederson

Defenders: Lindelöf, Eliseu, Sílvio, Jardel, André Almeida, Nélson Semedo and Grimaldo

Midfielders: Samaris, Gaitán, Gonçalo Guedes, Pizzi, Talisca, Salvio, Carcela and Renato Sanches

Forwards: Raúl Jiménez, Mitroglou, Jovic and Jonas




Point of view: Benfica x Zenit

On Tuesday night, Benfica face Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions League for the third time in five seasons, and for the second time in the round of 16 (2011/12 last 16; 2014/15 group stage; 2015/16 last 16). With former Benfica players Ezequiel Garay, Javi García and Axel Witsel in the Zenit squad, together with Portuguese international Danny and ex-Porto star Hulk, there is plenty of added interest in the encounter.

Ahead of the game, Russian football expert Mikhail Morozov of Football-tv.ru and SportFM.ru (an avid Benfica and Spartak Moscow fan) gave his thoughts exclusively to Planet Benfica.




Zenit strengthen ahead of Benfica clash

Aleksandr Kokorin

Zenit St Petersburg have strengthened their squad ahead of their Champions League round-of-16 tie with Benfica, signing Russian internationals Yuri Zhirkov and Aleksandr Kokorin (pictured) from rivals Dinamo Moscow. Both players are eligible to play in Europe, with Dinamo banned from continental competition for breaching financial fair play rules.




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