International break looms for Benfica players

The dreaded International break looms and one thing we can look forward to is the Benfica players in action, however, as long as they remain injury free and in good match fitness when they return.

A total of 7 first team players have received a call up for their respective international teams, where games will be played in and around the weekend of 28th and 29th March.

Left-back Eliseu will join Fernando Santos' squad, but will remain in Lisbon as Portugal face Serbia in the Euro 2016 qualifier at the Estádio da Luz.

Jesus justifies red cards

Benfica manager Jorge Jesus held his usual pre-match press conference in Seixal where he previewed Saturday's game away to Rio Ave for the Portuguese Liga.

"Whenever Benfica play away the stadiums are full, and that's how it has been in the last few games. The "red wave", or Benfica supporters, are important for the club. They are an enormous strength and the players feel that confidence."

Rio Ave FC x SL Benfica squad list

Jorge Jesus' biggest selection surprise is Uruguayan player Jonathan Rodríguez making the cut.

The striker received the call after quality performances for the B team, especially against Portimonense where he scored a hat-trick.

His inclusion is also directly related to the suspended Gaitán, who will be forced to sit this game out.

Tickets still available for Rio Ave

Supporters who would like to push the team forward at Vila do Conde still have a chance to buy tickets.

Benfica travel north on Saturday to face Rio Ave and tickets are available between €15 to €30, which is now open non-members too and will be on sale until Friday evening or until they sell out.

Jorge Jesus has called for a training session this morning at 10:00 GMT which will take place behind closed doors.

Benfica have 3 days to prepare for this important away game, in a ground which is typically difficult to play in.

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."