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Celtic hoping for better at Benfica

Published: Tuesday 13 November 2012, 14.37CET
SL Benfica drew at Celtic FC on matchday one but the visitors' displays in Group G give them real encouragement for a trip to a venue where they have lost all three away games.
Celtic hoping for better at Benfica
Miku takes a breather during Celtic's stalemate with Benfica in September ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 13 November 2012, 14.37CET

Celtic hoping for better at Benfica

SL Benfica drew at Celtic FC on matchday one but the visitors' displays in Group G give them real encouragement for a trip to a venue where they have lost all three away games.

Celtic FC can clinch their place in the UEFA Champions League knockout phase for the third time when they return to Lisbon, the city that hosted their 1967 European Champion Clubs' Cup final triumph.

• Second in Group G, Celtic have lost on their three previous visits to SL Benfica but will travel with real optimism after beating FC Barcelona in their last fixture and, with a three-point lead over their hosts, will secure their progress with a victory. A score draw will also suffice if FC Spartak Moskva do not beat Barcelona in the corresponding fixture.

• Benfica clinched their first win of the group stage against Spartak last time out and will overtake Celtic if they win, having held them 0-0 in Glasgow on matchday one.

Past meetings
• The clubs first met in 1969/70 when a coin toss decided their European Cup second round tie. Tommy Gemmell, Willie Wallace and Harry Hood gave Celtic a 3-0 first-leg win but Benfica responded with an identical victory in Lisbon thanks to Eusébio, Jaime Graça and Diamantino. Celtic went on to the final where they lost 2-1 to Feyenoord.

• The clubs have also posted identical home results in their UEFA Champions League meetings. In the 2006/07 group stage Celtic won 3-0 through efforts from Kenny Miller (2) and Stephen Pearson, while Benfica reversed the score in Lisbon with Gary Caldwell's own goal and strikes from Nuno Gomes and Andrei Karyaka.

• In 2007/08, Óscar Cardozo's 87th-minute strike earned Benfica a 1-0 home victory before Aiden McGeady, now playing for Group G rivals Spartak, did the same for Celtic. The lineups in Lisbon on 24 October 2007 were:
Benfica: Quim, Pereira, Luisão, Katsouranis, Léo, Nuno Assis (Di María 62), Binya, Rui Costa, Rodríguez (Luís Felipe 84), Bergessio (Adu 62), Cardozo.
Celtic: Boruc, Naylor, Caldwell, Kennedy, McManus, Hartley, Jarošík, Brown, Donati (Sno 63), McGeady, Killen (McDonald 74).

• Celtic's two previous passages to the UEFA Champions League last 16 came in those seasons where they shared a group with Benfica.

Match background
• After qualifying successes at HJK Helsinki and Helsingborgs IF, Celtic posted their first victory in 21 away fixtures in the UEFA Champions League proper at Spartak and lost only to an added-time goal at Barcelona.

• Celtic's overall away record against Portuguese sides is W2 D1 L7. Their last victory in Portugal was a 1-0 success at Boavista FC in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup semi-final, Henrik Larsson the scorer, although they lost the subsequent final to another Portuguese club, FC Porto.

• Celtic lost 3-0 at SC Braga in Neil Lennon's first European tie as manager, a 2010/11 UEFA Champions League qualifier.

• In their only other tie with Scottish opposition, Benfica beat Heart of Midlothian FC 3-0 in Lisbon in the 1960/61 European Cup preliminary round, the opening step towards their first continental crown.

• Celtic beat FC Internazionale Milano 2-1 at Lisbon's Estádio Nacional in 1967 to become Britain's first European Cup winners.

Team ties
• Lennon played in both Celtic's matches against Benfica in 2006/07 – lining up against Luisão – and was in the team that beat Boavista in 2002/03. With Northern Ireland he faced former Portugal midfielder, and current Benfica director, Rui Costa in a 0-0 home qualifier for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

• Benfica assistant coach Minervino Pietra faced Scotland twice with Portugal, a 1-0 home win in 1980 UEFA European Championship qualifying and a 0-0 away draw in 1982 World Cup qualifying. Shéu, another Benfica director, played in both matches along with a 4-1 loss in Glasgow in the earlier campaign.

• Lima was in the Braga side that eliminated Celtic in 2010/11 with Artur on the bench.

• Eduardo Salvio played for Club Atlético de Madrid in their 1-0 win at Celtic in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Miku has faced Argentina's Ezequiel Garay and Uruguay's Maxi Pereira with Venezuela and was on the bench for September's World Cup qualifying win at Cardozo's Paraguay. Miku was at Valencia CF at the same time as Pablo Aimar but never featured alongside him in the first team.

Last updated: 16/11/12 17.32CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2013/matches/round=2000347/match=2009565/prematch/background/index.html#celtic+hoping+better+benfica

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