|K||Sparta Praha||CFR Cluj|
|C||H. Tel-Aviv||Rapid Wien|
SL Benfica captain Luisão was keen to quell the rising tide of euphoria around his team after they inflicted Everton FC's heaviest ever European defeat – a 5-0 victory in Lisbon – to deliver serious notice of their UEFA Europa League potential.
The 28-year-old Brazilian international defender gave the injury-depleted visitors their first warning of what was to come when he headed a corner narrowly wide early on, before scoring from a similar routine seven minutes into the second half. His was the last of three goals conceded by Everton in the space of five minutes – Óscar Cardozo grabbing the other two – with Javier Saviola also helping himself to a pair via efforts towards the start and end of the encounter. Given that Benfica swept aside Portuguese Cup opponents GD Recreativo de Monsanto 6-0 at the weekend and boast 24 goals from their seven Liga outings, it is easy to see why optimism is rife among the Eagles faithful.
"This was a joyful night but we have to be cautious because it was only one match and nothing more," said Luisão. "It's been a wonderful season so far, but my experience at Benfica tells me that it's not so difficult to get to the top. The toughest thing is to stay there. We have to be careful and we don't want to take a step backwards all of a sudden."
Top is exactly where Jorge Jesus's men now find themselves in Group I, level on six points with Everton but boasting the head-to-head advantage as they gear up to meet again at Goodison Park on 5 November. "The group is still very complicated and nothing's decided yet," added Luisão, who was also keen that his side's defensive fortitude should not be overlooked in all the praise for their fluid attacking play. "We've been very solid at the back. We have a strong defensive spirit and every player has been playing their defensive role. Everyone, starting with the forwards, has been doing their job by marking and concentrating. After that, the goals flow quite naturally because our attack is full of quality."
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