Manduca to bolster Benfica attack

SL Benfica have begun preparations for their first knockout round tie with Liverpool FC by signing Brazilian forward Gustavo Manduca from CS Marítimo.

SL Benfica have signed Brazilian forward Gustavo Manduca from CS Marítimo on a four-and-a-half year contract

Rapid rise
The 25-year-old will reportedly cost the Portuguese champions €500,000. Manduca first arrived in Portugal in 1998/99 via HJK Helsinki in Finland and has spent the last 18 months at Marítimo after a spell with FC Paços de Ferreira. Manduca has scored five goals in 15 matches this season.

Defender close
Manduca could be registered to play in the UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie against Liverpool FC early next year. Meanwhile, Benfica are reportedly close to the signing of Portuguese Under-21 defender José Fonte who has parted company with troubled Vitória FC. The 22-year-old centre-back is set to sign a deal that will take him up to 2010 and be loaned for the rest of the season to another club.