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Benfica clutch at last straw

Published: Friday 5 December 2008, 20.45CET
SL Benfica's slender hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Cup Round of 32 rest upon a big win in their final Group B game against FC Metalist Kharkiv, coinciding with a draw between Olympiacos CFP and Hertha BSC Berlin.
Benfica clutch at last straw
Benfica coach Quique Sánchez Flores ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

BenficaMetalist

Goals scored6
 
13
Attempts on target19
 
36
Attempts off target19
 
30
Corners18
 
27
Offsides12
 
10
Fouls committed60
 
90
Yellow cards12
 
22
Red cards0
 
0

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Standings

SSI Err
 
Published: Friday 5 December 2008, 20.45CET

Benfica clutch at last straw

SL Benfica's slender hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Cup Round of 32 rest upon a big win in their final Group B game against FC Metalist Kharkiv, coinciding with a draw between Olympiacos CFP and Hertha BSC Berlin.

SL Benfica's slender hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Cup Round of 32 rest upon a big win in their final Group B game against FC Metalist Kharkiv, coinciding with a draw in the section's other Matchday 5 tie where Olympiacos CFP host Hertha BSC Berlin.

• Benfica were not in action on Matchday 4, but a draw and two defeats in their opening three games has left Quique Sánchez Flores's side with almost no chance of progressing.

• Metalist, by contrast, confirmed their progress with a 1-0 win at home against Olympiacos on Matchday 4, and cannot finish lower than second in the section. A win would see them steal top spot from Galatasaray AŞ.

• Final positioning is crucial when it comes to the Round of 32 draw. Group winners will be paired with third-placed sides from other UEFA Cup sections, while second-placed finishers will be drawn against one of the eight sides who finished third in the UEFA Champions League groups. The UEFA Cup group winners and runners-up will play the second leg at home.

• Benfica can theoretically finish third, though this would demand a low-scoring draw between Olympiacos and Hertha and a victory by an eight-goal margin against Metalist.

• That will be no easy task. Myron Markevich's side have not conceded a goal in the group stage to date.

• Benfica have won four European games at home by seven-goal margins, but the only time they have won by more than eight goals saw them beat CS Stade Dudelange in the preliminary round of the 1965/66 European Champion Clubs' Cup. They beat the Luxembourgeois side 8-0 in the return fixture.

• This is Benfica and Metalist's first meeting in UEFA club competition, and Metalist are playing in their first game against Portuguese opposition.

• Benfica have played six games against Ukrainian sides, with their record reading W4 D0 L2. Their record at home against Ukrainian sides reads W2 D0 L1, with that lone defeat - a 1-0 against FC Shakhtar Donetsk - coming in their most recent fixture against a Ukrainian side, in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League.

• Benfica coach Sánchez Flores took on Shakhtar in his previous role as Valencia CF coach in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League, with his side winning 2-0 in Spain and drawing 2-2 in Ukraine.

• Metalist coach Markevich has never faced Portuguese opponents before.

• This will be Metalist's final match of 2008. The Ukrainian Premier League has gone into its winter break with Markevich's side second in the table, six points adrift of league leaders FC Dynamo Kyiv. League fixtures resume on 28 February 2009.

• Metalist earned their first European away win in five attempts in beating Galatasaray 1-0 in Istanbul on Matchday 3. Their European away record reads W1 D1 L3, and they have only scored two goals in total away from home in European competition.

• Benfica's Angel Di María and Metalist's Seweryn Gancarczyk are within a booking of a one-match ban.

• The draw for the UEFA Cup Round of 32 (when teams from the same association cannot be drawn against each other) and Round of 16 will be held at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon on Friday 19 December at 13.00CET.

Last updated: 12/12/08 20.57CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2009/matches/round=15285/match=304243/prematch/background/index.html#benfica+clutch+last+straw

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