Benfica to face Zenit in Champions League

Garay and Witsel

Benfica will play Zenit St Petersburg in the last 16 of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League. The first leg will be played at the Estádio da Luz on Tuesday 16th February, with the second leg at the Petrovsky Stadium on Wednesday 9th March.

The tie reunites Benfica with some familiar faces, including former players Axel Witsel, Ezequiel Garay and Javi García, ex-Porto coach André Villas-Boas, and ex-Porto forward Hulk. The Zenit squad also includes Portuguese internationals Danny and Luís Neto.

Highlights: Benfica 1 - 2 Atlético Madrid

Vital to finish first says Vitória

Benfica manager Rui Vitória ensured his side won't take the foot off the gas even though they have qualified for the Last 16.

The Lisbon side could do well by finishing first and avoiding the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Barcelona, all who have sealed their fate as seeded teams by finishing top of the group.

"I wouldn't be ok with myself if we didn't approach this game in the same manner as the previous ones in this competition. I remember that in the openning game I said it will be necessary to play on the 'red line' and that isn't about to change."

Raúl Jiménez relishing encounter with former team

Raúl Jiménez is likely to return to the starting eleven and face his former side. The Mexican striker played in the Vicente Calderon and more recently scored an important brace against Astana in Kazakhstan in Matchday 5.

"We have to be very well organised because Atlético [MAdrid] are a strong team, we will need to be cautious. We need to give our best, just like every game, to obtain the best result."

Squad List: SL Benfica x Atlético Madrid

Benfica manager Rui Vitória has called 20 players to tomorrow's Champions League Group C clash against Spanish heavy heavyweights Atlético de Madrid. 

Sílvio has recovered whilst Djuricic and Taarabt remain out of option.

Nélson Semedo, Luisão and Salvio continue sidelined through injury.

Goalkeepers: Ederson and Júlio César
Defenders: Lisandro López; Lindelöf, Eliseu, Sílvio, Jardel and André Almeida;
Midfielders: Fejsa, Samaris, Gaitán, Gonçalo Guedes, Pizzi, Cristante, Talisca, Carcela and Renato Sanches;
Forwards: Mitroglou, Jonas and Raúl Jiménez

Highlights: Astana 2 - 2 Benfica

Squad List: Astana x Benfica

Benfica have taken twenty players to Kazakhstan to face FC Astana on Champions League Matchday 5. Long-term injury absentees Eduardo Salvio and Nélson Semedo remain out of the picture, and are joined on the sidelines by captain Luisão, who fractured his left arm in the derby defeat to Sporting. Lisandro Lopez is the clear favourite to replace Benfica’s skipper in central defence, as Victor Lindelöf is unavailable with a sprained left ankle. Nico Gaitán is suspended following his late dismissal against Galatasaray, while Ljubomir Fejsa is still recovering from his right foot injury.

Goalkeepers: Júlio César, Ederson and Paulo Lopes.

Defenders: Lisandro, Eliseu, Sílvio and Jardel.

Midfielders: Samaris, Pizzi, Cristante, Talisca, André Almeida, Carcela, João Teixeira, Renato Sanches, Gonçalo Guedes and Nuno Santos.

Forwards: Raúl Jiménez, Jonas and Mitroglou.

Astana x Benfica: Pre-Match Press


Rui Vitória assured that Benfica are fully focused on Wednesday's game against FC Astana. 

"It is not nice to lose, but one of the good things is that our team has successful competitions and we already have a very important game, with great motivation, soon after three or four days. There was a game and we are professionals. It was not what we wanted but we now have a great journey to move to the next stage. The motivation of the Champions League to prevail over the game against Sporting. With adversity teams have won," He began by saying.

Rui Vitória looking to make things right

The Champions League returns to Lisbon as Benfica get ready to face Turkish giants Galatasaray for the 'second-leg' of Group C.

The previous result was unfavourable for Rui Vitória's men as they lost by the minimal margin in Istanbul after Gaitán had put them ahead within minutes of kick-off. Benfica couldn't capitalise and left all 3 points behind.

After this morning's session, the Benfica manager stated he is eager to sum 9 points by the end of tomorrow.

Luisão demands perfect night

The Benfica captain has put last round's defeat in Istanbul behind him, and demands a perfect night tomorrow as the «eagles» look to take command of Group C at the Estádio da Luz.

"Galatasaray is a difficult opponent, like they were in Turkey, and know what they are after. However we have huge ambitions."

"We played an excellent game there with good intensity. That game is now behind us and tomorrow will be completely different. We have to be focused and take our opportunities as we all know there aren't many in the Champions League."