Benfica vs. Barcelona  0 - 2


Vilanova laments Puyol injury

3 October 2012 03:42

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova is frustrated by having to reshuffle his defence after Carles Puyol dislocated his elbow against Benfica.

Due to absences at the back, the Catalan outfit have been forced to convert a few players into makeshift centre-backs, with defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano among those deputising.

With Puyol getting injured in Tuesday's Champions League win over the Portuguese side, Vilanova will again be forced to make unforeseen changes.

"We are always having problems with central defenders," Vilanova told reporters. "It has forced us to convert some players in terms of position.

"Puyol has now suffered a couple of injuries this season that we might say weren't exactly normal, such as a broken cheekbone, and now a (dislocated) elbow.

"We'll have to wait and see how long he's going to be out for but he'll be an important loss for us."

The 43-year-old Vilanova will be overseeing his second Clasico of the season against Real Madrid on Sunday, and believes the Benfica win stands them in good stead.

"The win took a lot of effort but despite that we took three very important points here in Lisbon. We are very happy with the result," he said.

"Alexis Sanchez is continuing to show he is a player who wants to grow. As we saw with Cesc Fabregas earlier in the season, now is the time for Alexis to push on.

"It will be a tough game against Real Madrid. What we must do now is to recover from these last two matches and start to think about the encounter at the weekend."

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus labelled Barcelona as the world's best team after his side's defeat.

"We were up against the best team in the world, a side that always has 70 percent or more of possession and that dominate all their opponents," he said.

"They have only got the two best players in Europe! We played well in the first half and didn't deserve to be losing at half-time.

"Barca were very effective and that was the difference until they made it 2-0. After that, it was even more difficult."


Jesus insists Barcelona are beatable

2 October 2012 08:19

Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus claims his side do not fear Barcelona and cannot wait to play them in the UEFA Champions League.

Barcelona head to Benfica on Tuesday for their second match in Group G after a narrow victory at home to Spartak Moscow on matchday one, while their hosts drew away to Celtic.

Although Jesus conceded Barcelona are a team 'with another dimension', he argued Benfica will attempt to overcome all the factors against them to defeat Tito Vilanova's visiting side.

"It's true that Barcelona is a team with another dimension," Jesus said.

"They are a bigger club and certainly more capable, with more resources, collectively, but, mainly, individually.

"We have information about all our opponents and Barcelona is no different; and we will see if we can stop them more effectively than the other teams that have played them in the past.

"I know that Barcelona normally win all the matches and I know that they come from seven straight victories, we know that is a difficult match, we respect them, but we don't fear them."

Barcelona top Group G and have started La Liga with six victories from as many matches but Benfica striker Nolito remains convinced the Portuguese club will try and win.

"Yes of course that is very clear, the idea is always to win isn't it?" Nolito said.

"Sure Barcelona is a very strong rival but we are planning to go for a victory here.

"We want to make sure that we get some points here in Lisbon."


UEFA Champions League Group G preview: Barca, Benfica set to clash

1 October 2012 14:04

Barcelona can build on their lead atop Group G in Champions League, when they visit Benfica in Portugal.

The Spanish giants - who have made the semi-final stages in Europe five seasons in succession, winning the illustrious trophy twice in the process - will hope to continue that run under new coach Tito Vilanova when go to the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica.

Barcelona have had a perfect start to their domestic and continental campaigns, with six wins from six in Spain and their 3-2 home win over Spartak Moscow on matchday one.

That win was the first of a run of three that saw Barcelona score critical goals in the 80th minute or later, in a sign of the spirit the Nou Camp squad have to fight on late in games to earn the full three points.

However, Benfica - albeit in an inferior league - have arrested a deficit on three separate occasions in their past two domestic clashes to earn four points and sit top of the Liga Sagres, in a clear sign Jorge Jesus' men also have that 'never give in' ethic drummed into them.

They will need it in droves, though, to defeat the star-studded Barcelona outfit, who have made the European competition their own in recent times.

Spartak Moscow will be ready to reap some rewards from their admirable loss to Barcelona in their opening group-stage game, when they host Celtic at the Olympic Stadium in the Russian capital.

Moscow coach Unai Emery saw his side lead at the Nou Camp with less than 20 minutes remaining, only for a Lionel Messi brace to break Spartak hearts.

Three wins since - two in the league, and one in the cup - has seen the Russian side continue their good form, however a worrying trend for Emery's men is they have not kept a clean sheet in their past 12 matches.

Celtic, meanwhile, have won three of their past four - drawing the other with Benfica in the group stages - keeping clean sheets in three matches, and conceding only in the Scottish Cup win over Raith Rovers.


Cardozo to miss Barcelona clash

29 September 2012 16:32

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus has conceded there is 'no chance' of Oscar Cardozo featuring in his side's upcoming clash against Barcelona.

The towering forward featured as a substitute in Benfica's Champions League opener, a goalless draw away to Celtic.

But his coach has dismissed any possibility of the Paraguayan playing against the Catalan giants on Tuesday.

"I think Cardozo has no chance to recover for the match against Barcelona," Jesus revealed.

"We'll have to run a lot. Barcelona will wear us down with their ball movement."

Jesus will likely turn to Rodrigo Lima after the Brazilian bagged a decisive double in his side's 2-1 victory over Pacos de Ferreira recently.

Primeira Liga table

# Team MP D P
1 31 +61 79
2 31 +58 77
3 31 +39 74
4 31 +45 71
5 31 -4 44

La Liga table

# Team MP D P
1 33 +64 83
2 34 +36 72
3 33 +44 68
4 34 +26 66
5 34 +1 56
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