Youngsters miss out on the Final Four

Benfica's youth team went out on penalties against Shakhtar and failed to make the Final Four in Nyon for the UEFA Youth League.

João Carvalho put the reds ahead on the 41st minute after complete domination in the first half.

Romário Baldé wasted a great opportunity to convert the penalty which would have seen João Trolhão's men two ahead, however his artistic effort was easily gathered by the Ukrainian keeper.

Shakhtar then equalised and forced the match into penalties, which they won by 5-4.

Benfica's president left a vote of confidence for the youngsters:

Benfica aim for semi-final in UEFA Youth League

The Benfica youth team is aiming to repeat last year's feat and reach the last 4 of the competition. They could be the only surviving team in respect to last season if they are able to beat Shakhtar Donetsk at home.

João Tralhão, the manager, gave his views to Benfica TV and stated they are wary of the Ukrainian's side's potential.

"This is another difficult game, similar to what we have been dealing with so far in this competition where the teams are very well balanced."

Highlights: Benfica 2 - 0 Braga

Jonas and Eliseu scored a goal on each half with placed shots from outside the area. In front of over 60,000 fans, Benfica worked hard for their comfortable win over 10-men Braga. Benfica increase the gap to second placed FC Porto by seven points with an extra game played. Continue to watch highlights.

Squad List: Benfica vs Braga

Jorge Jesus has included Serbian midfielder Sulejmani ahead of the important clash against Braga this afternoon as Talisca is suspended for accumulation of yellow cards. The 26-year-old has rarely featured this season due to prolonged injury which saw him pushed down in the pecking order, though likely to be named in the substitute bench.

Sílvio and Cristante have been left out due to option. Defender César remains injured whilst Fejsa played for Benfica B on Wednesday to regain match fitness with his first game of the season.

Fans support vital

Jorge Jesus gave his views ahead of the important home game against Braga this Saturday and highlighted that support from fans is they key to victory.

Samaris relishing Braga encounter

Benfica's new summer signings Talisca and Samaris were present at the Benfica Megastore in the Estádio da Luz yesterday to connect with the fans and sign autographs.

Samaris, the Greek midfielder who joined form Olympiacos stated that he is enjoying playing for the club and sees the supporters as vital to team's strength.

"This is great to practice my Portuguese [laughs]. I am very happy to be here with the fans. They are our pillar and with them we are stronger whether it's at home or away."

Highlights: Arouca 1 - 3 Benfica

Benfica saw three second-half goals after going down early to Arouca to keep the 4-point gap with second placed Porto. 

Iuri got the hosts off the mark on the 7th minute after Eliseu left his man unmarked. Arouca proved to be difficult to brake down and the best chance for the visitors fell to Salvio from 5 yards who hit the crossbar. 

Hany Mukhtar travels to Arouca

January signing Hany Mukhtar, 19-year-old midfielder from Hertha Berlin, is the surprise inclusion in the team that traveled north of Portugal yesterday for the match against Arouca. 

The German u20 midfielder has earned his first call to the senior team, though two players from the list will miss out in this afternoon's game.

Júlio César also makes his return after suffering an injury at home to Boavista four weeks ago.

Jesus admits a two-horse race for Portuguese title

In today's press conference, ahead of tomorrow's match against Arouca, Jorge Jesus stated Benfica have to continue focusing on themselves. However, the Benfica manger admitted he believes the race for the title is now between the reds and Porto.

"No one has any doubts that the race for the domestic league title will be between two. We always have the same pressure to win and we do not need to depend on anyone."

"We aren't worried about anyone else, only our next opponent."

Arouca away in maximum force

Jorge Jesus will have, for the first time this season, the full squad available to choose from as Benfica travel north to face Arouca.

The exception is Serbian midfielder Ljubomir Fesja, who was known to be sidelined until the latter end of the season, and is the only player to be in the care of Benfica's medical team.

Jesus will have his press conference at the Estádio da Luz today at 16:00 local time.

The squad list is expected to be made public tomorrow morning.