Benfica vs Man Utd – Champions League Preview – Jose Mourinho leads his undefeated Manchester United team to one of his former clubs seeking to all but secure The Red Devils passage through to the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Manchester United maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign with a resilient 0-0 draw at Anfield on Saturday and despite the turgid performance on the weekend, Mourinho seemed relatively pleased to have taken a point at a rival, with his side remaining in 2nd place in the Premier League in the process – just behind neighbours Manchester City.
The Red Devils have also started excellently in Europe, with convincing results and performances against both FC Basel and CSKA Moscow in 3-0 and 4-1 wins respectively. This blistering start means that victory in Portugal will almost guarantee qualification for the knockout stages, with just three matches played.
This is down to Benfica’s inability to pick up a single point to date, most notably after a 5-0 demolishing at the hands of Basel, and the fact that the Swiss side and CSKA are three points afield of United and are now to play each other in consecutive fixtures – the twice European Cup victors will be a minimum of five points ahead of third place with a win against Benfica.
Rui Vitoria’s outfit aren’t enjoying the best start to the season. Alongside their European deficiencies, the Encarnados are 3rd in Liga Nos, already three points behind fellow Lisbon team Sporting and five behind domestic nemesis Porto. A big performance against one of the world’s biggest teams could be the spark Benfica need.
There is history between the two clubs, in fact, one of the aforementioned European Cup victories – and indeed United and an English club’s first in the competition – was against Benfica, where a George Best inspired Manchester United claimed the trophy 4-1 (a.e.t) against Eusebio’s Benfica at Wembley.
Additionally, it isn’t only Mourinho that has represented Benfica before but Nemanja Matic and most recently Victor Lindelof too – the latter switching to Lisbon for Manchester for approximately £30m fee in the summer.
Team News –
Long term injuries to the goliaths Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic see them still ruled out. There are major doubts over the fitness of the near-returning Marcos Rojo, and Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Eric Bailly who all missed Saturday’s crunch fixture with Liverpool.
Benfica right-back Andre Almeida is unavailable through suspension, after his ridiculously idiotic tackle against Basel drew a deserved straight-red card.
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