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Benfica bid to end Spanish hoodoo

Published: Wednesday 26 September 2012, 22.28CET
SL Benfica have not won at home to Spanish opposition since 1982 and changing that statistic against Group G rivals FC Barcelona may prove easier said than done.
Benfica bid to end Spanish hoodoo
Benfica duo Nolito and Pablo Aimar will need no introducing to Barcelona ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 26 September 2012, 22.28CET

Benfica bid to end Spanish hoodoo

SL Benfica have not won at home to Spanish opposition since 1982 and changing that statistic against Group G rivals FC Barcelona may prove easier said than done.

SL Benfica will seek a first victory against Spanish opposition in 30 years when they host Group G rivals FC Barcelona, who have a superb recent away UEFA Champions League record. The Spanish side had to work hard for a 3-2 home win against FC Spartak Moskva on matchday one, when Benfica drew 0-0 at Celtic FC.

Past meetings
• Whenever these two clubs have met the winners have gone on to lift the European Cup, starting with Bela Guttmann's Benfica in the 1961 final in Berne. Although Sándor Kocsis (21) put the Blaugrana ahead, Benfica hit back through José Águas (31), an Antoni Ramallets own goal (32) and Mário Coluna (55) proving enough despite Zoltán Czibor's strike (75).

• Barcelona secured their place in the 1992 final with a 2-1 win against Sven-Göran Eriksson's Benfica in the concluding round of matches in the fledgling group stage on 14 April 1992. Hristo Stoichkov (12) and José María Bakero (23) scored for Johan Cruyff's side, with Brito (27) replying. The clubs had drawn 0-0 in Lisbon on 11 December 1991. Benfica finished third in the group while Barcelona went on to win their first European Cup at UC Sampdoria's expense.

• Barcelona's second European Cup triumph followed a quarter-final defeat of a Benfica team coached by Ronald Koeman in 2005/06. Again the sides drew 0-0 in Lisbon before Ronaldinho (19) and Samuel Eto'o (89) earned Frank Rijkaard's men a semi-final berth.

• The teams for that Lisbon encounter on 28 March 2006 were:
Benfica: Moretto, Ricardo Rocha, Luisão, Anderson, Léo, Beto, Manuel Fernandes, Petit, Simão, Geovanni (Karagounis 68), Robert (Miccoli 46).
Barcelona: Valdés, Belletti, Motta, Oleguer, Van Bronckhorst, Van Bommel, Deco (Gabri 76), Iniesta, Larsson (Giuly 76), Eto'o, Ronaldinho.

• Carles Puyol, suspended for the Lisbon meeting, played in the second leg.

Match background
• Benfica have won none of their last 12 encounters with Spanish clubs, including home and away losses to Getafe CF when they last faced Liga opposition in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 16. Not since the 1982/83 UEFA Cup first round have Benfica beaten a Spanish team. The club's assistant coach Minervino Pietra was in the side that recorded 2-1 home and away wins against Real Betis Balompié.

• During the four-year reign of Tito Vilanova's predecessor, Josep Guardiola, Barcelona lost three of 24 UEFA Champions League away fixtures, winning 11 and drawing ten.

• On Barcelona's last trip to Lisbon, Gerard Piqué and Lionel Messi were among the scorers in a 5-2 victory at Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 2008/09 group stage. Their record in Portugal is W3 D3 L4, with their last defeat coming at CF Os Belenenses in the 1987/88 UEFA Cup first round. They still progressed 2-1 on aggregate.

• Barcelona's latest meeting with Portuguese opposition brought a 2-0 victory over FC Porto in the 2011 UEFA Super Cup, Messi (39) and Cesc Fàbregas (88) scoring.

• Victorious against Barcelona in the 1961 European Cup final, Benfica retained the trophy in 1962 with a 5-3 final triumph over Real Madrid CF.

Team ties
• Nolito made 73 league appearances for Barcelona's B team but only featured twice in the Liga for the senior side.

• Ezequiel Garay had spells with Real Racing Club and Real Madrid, playing in the Merengues' 2011 Copa del Rey final triumph over Barcelona.

• Rodrigo is a product of Madrid's youth academy and made 18 appearances for Real Madrid Castilla.

• Pablo Aimar spent eight seasons in Spain, six with Valencia CF, where he played with David Villa, and two with Real Zaragoza. He scored 32 goals in 215 Liga appearances – two in 11 against Barcelona.

• Eduardo Salvio lost twice against Barcelona with Club Atlético de Madrid last term, including a 5-0 defeat at the Camp Nou.

• Former RC Recreativo de Huelva and Granada CF player Carlos Martins scored in Portugal's 4-0 friendly win against Spain in November 2011.

• Óscar Cardozo missed a penalty when Paraguay lost to Spain in the 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, succumbing to a late Villa goal.

Last updated: 01/10/12 0.07CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2013/matches/round=2000347/match=2009516/prematch/background/index.html#benfica+spanish+hoodoo

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