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Home form a comfort for Benfica as Zenit visit

Published: Thursday 16 February 2012, 9.20CET
With 15 wins in their last 19 home European games, SL Benfica will be confident of turning round a 3-2 away defeat in the return leg of their round of 16 tie against FC Zenit St Petersburg.

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Published: Thursday 16 February 2012, 9.20CET

Home form a comfort for Benfica as Zenit visit

With 15 wins in their last 19 home European games, SL Benfica will be confident of turning round a 3-2 away defeat in the return leg of their round of 16 tie against FC Zenit St Petersburg.

SL Benfica will be looking to extend a fine recent home record in the return leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie against FC Zenit St Petersburg.

• The Portuguese side went down 3-2 in Russia on 15 February, Roman Shirokov scoring twice for Zenit.

• For the Russian champions the match is a third successive meeting with Portuguese opponents. On matchday six a 0-0 draw away against FC Porto ensured Zenit finished runners-up behind APOEL FC in Group G.

Previous meetings
• This is the first European meeting between the teams on Portuguese soil; in four home fixtures against Russian opponents Benfica have won two and drawn two, conceding only one goal.

• In four previous knockout ties against Russian opponents they have only once been on the losing side – going down 3-1 on aggregate in the last such encounter, against PFC CSKA Moskva in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 32. The home second leg finished 1-1.

• This season's draw at Porto aside, Zenit's only other away game in Portugal ended in a 4-3 defeat by CD Nacional in the 2009/10 UEFA Cup play-offs, setting up a 5-4 aggregate reverse.

Match background
• Benfica have lost just one of their last 19 European home games, a sequence that includes 15 wins. That sole setback came in last season's UEFA Champions League when FC Schalke 04 were 2-1 winners on matchday six.

• A 1-0 home defeat of FC Oţelul Galaţi meant Benfica won Group C, the first time they had finished top of their UEFA Champions League section since 1995. It followed 1-1 home draws with both Manchester United FC and FC Basel 1893.

• Winners in 1961 and 1962, Benfica were last at this stage in 2005/06 when they beat holders Liverpool FC 1-0 at home and 2-0 away, Luisão scoring in the first leg. Benfica's run came to an end in the quarter-finals when eventual champions FC Barcelona beat them 2-0 in Spain and on aggregate.

• Zenit's 2-1 defeat at APOEL FC on matchday one was their third successive away reverse in Europe. Their two subsequent matches ended in draws at FC Shakhtar Donetsk (2-2) and Porto, meaning they have not won any of their last five away European fixtures since a 3-0 victory at AEK Athens FC on UEFA Europa League matchday six last season.

• Of the 12 occasions where Zenit have won the first leg at home in European competition, they have earned nine aggregate victories. Most recently, however, a 1-0 home win against AJ Auxerre in the 2010/11 play-off round preceded a 2-0 loss in France.

• Benfica have lost the first leg away from home 31 times and have recovered to win on aggregate on nine occasions. Of the four instances where they have gone down 3-2 they have won two ties, most recently against SSC Napoli in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round when they triumphed 2-0 in Lisbon.

Team ties
• Artur played for AS Roma in 2008/09 under Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti.

• Bruno Alves and Danny and Benfica's Eduardo are team-mates with Portugal.

• Bruno Alves scored against Benfica to help Porto to a 3-1 win in 2009/10, one of four wins in 13 matches. In five games against Benfica with CS Marítimo, Danny was on the winning side just once.

• Russia's Vyacheslav Malafeev has played against Portugal twice, losing 7-1 in Lisbon in a FIFA World Cup qualifier on 13 October 2004. He also came on as a second-half substitute against the host nation at UEFA EURO 2004 with Russia losing 1-0 in Lisbon, conceding a second goal as Portugal won 2-0.

• Joan Capdevila played both legs as Villarreal CF were knocked out by Zenit on away goals in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup in the round of 32. Malafeev, Shirokov, Viktor Fayzulin, Konstantin Zyryanov and Aleksandr Anyukov played both legs for Zenit, Nicolas Lombaerts featuring in the second game.

• Aleksandar Luković plays for Serbia alongside Nemanja Matić; Danko Lazović retired from the squad last March. Lombaerts is a team-mate of Axel Witsel for Belgium.

• Eduardo and Domenico Criscito were team-mates at Genoa CFC in 2009/10.

Last updated: 05/12/13 19.35CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000264/match=2007673/prematch/background/index.html#home+form+comfort+benfica+zenit+visit

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