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Despite having a high opinion of FC Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian contingent, Luisão says a draw against the Ukrainian side would be "very bad" for SL Benfica.
Praise for compatriots
The big defender from Brazil is aware of his six compatriots who are registered with Shakhtar for the group stage, especially midfielder Fernandinho and Brandão, the striker who scored in their 2-0 home win against Celtic FC on Matchday 1. "They are players that are technically very good," he said, before adding: "A draw against them would be very bad for us. We're playing at home, so we have a responsibility to do well."
A 2-1 defeat at European champions AC Milan in their Group D opener has left Benfica with some catching up to do, and with another home game – against Celtic – to come on Matchday 3, Luisão reckons Benfica are entering a crucial phase. "We need to take six points from these games," he said. "We can't accept any draws."
Ready to contribute
The 26-year-old missed the trip to Milan with a knee injury sustained against FC København in the third qualifying round. Having made his first Liga appearance of the season in the weekend's 0-0 Lisbon derby draw with Sporting Clube de Portugal, he is delighted to be back in UEFA Champions League action. "I feel happy I can help the team more, of course," said the former Cruzeiro EC centre-back.
Luisão hopes that his contribution to Benfica's efforts against Shakhtar may even stretch to scoring an important goal. Always a threat from set-pieces, his solitary UEFA Champions League strike was a header that beat Liverpool FC back in February 2006 and helped Benfica to reach the quarter-finals of that year's competition.
The 2005 Portuguese champions have experienced difficulties in the scoring department of late, yet Luisão is adamant that it is the team as a whole, not just the forwards, who need to address the problem. "It's the responsibility of the midfield, even the defence, to score too," he said. "It's down to all the team to help the others out."
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