Benítez faces new English test with Inter
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Four months after leaving Liverpool FC, Rafael Benítez renews acquaintances with English opposition when his FC Internazionale Milano side welcome Tottenham Hotspur FC to San Siro.
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Four months after leaving Liverpool FC, Rafael Benítez will pit his wits against English opposition once more as his FC Internazionale Milano side host Tottenham Hotspur FC on Matchday 3.
• In qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time last May, Tottenham helped push the Spaniard's Liverpool team out of the Premier League's top four places for the first time since 2005.
• Inter and Spurs lead the way in Group A with four points apiece after impressive home wins on Matchday 2 – the Nerazzurri beat SV Werder Bremen 4-0, while Tottenham defeated FC Twente 4-1.
• Inter defeated Chelsea FC home and away in the round of 16 of last season's UEFA Champions League. They lost to Manchester United FC and Liverpool at that stage in 2008/09 and 2007/08 respectively. Indeed prior to beating Chelsea, Inter had drawn two and lost two of the preceding four home games against English visitors.
• Inter's overall home record against English opposition is W7 D3 L2.
• Tottenham's one previous trip to San Siro was a 1-1 draw with Inter's rivals AC Milan, Alan Mullery scoring the visitors' goal. That earned them a 3-2 aggregate victory at the semi-final stage of their triumphant 1971/72 UEFA Cup campaign.
• The north London club's only other encounter with Serie A opposition was a 2-0 loss at Udinese Calcio in the UEFA Cup group stage on 23 October 2008.
• Inter have recorded five straight home wins in the UEFA Champions League.
• Tottenham's two away outings in the competition have both featured flying starts. In their play-off at BSC Young Boys they trailed 3-0 inside 28 minutes before reducing the deficit to 3-2. At Bremen on Matchday 1, they scored twice in the first 18 minutes, eventually drawing 2-2.
• During his six seasons with Liverpool from 2004 to 2010, Benítez faced Spurs manager Harry Redknapp 13 times. Peter Crouch, who played under the Spaniard at Anfield from 2005 to 2008, scored for Redknapp's Southampton FC side in a 2-0 victory against Liverpool in their first encounter in January 2005.
• Benítez held the upper hand in head-to-heads when Redknapp was at Portsmouth FC with three wins, two draws and only one loss. Niko Kranjčar scored the winner in Portsmouth's solitary victory in April 2007. At Tottenham Redknapp won all three home meetings with Benítez's Liverpool but lost both away.
• With Valencia CF in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League, Benítez oversaw home and away wins against future employers Liverpool in the first group stage. In the second group stage, his Valencia side earned an away draw and home victory against Arsenal FC. Valencia's run was ended by Inter in the quarter-finals.
• Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart are team-mates with the Netherlands and also played together at AFC Ajax (2002-05) and Real Madrid CF (2008/09).
• Carlo Cudicini started his career with Milan but never played in Serie A for the Rossoneri.
• Heurelho Gomes was Júlio César's deputy in Brazil's FIFA World Cup squad in South Africa. Lucio and Maicon were also in the Brazil team.
• Gomes was in the PSV Eindhoven team that lost 2-0 away and 1-0 at home to Inter in the 2007/08 group stage. Roman Pavlyuchenko scored FC Spartak Moskva's goal in a 2-1 defeat at Inter in October 2006, also appearing in the 1-0 reverse in Moscow.
• Samuel Eto'o is a colleague of Sébastien Bassong and Benoît Assou-Ekotto in the Cameroon national team.
• Sulley Muntari played under Redknapp at Portsmouth in 2007/08. He helped Redknapp claim his first major trophy as a manager, that season's FA Cup, with a quarter-final winner at Manchester United FC.
• Marco Materazzi spent 1998/99 at Everton.
• Robbie Keane was at Inter in 2000/01. In Serie A he made six appearances without scoring. He scored once in five European outings, against Ruch Chorzów in the UEFA Cup.
• Jermaine Jenas played in the Newcastle side that drew 2-2 at Inter in March 2003 in a UEFA Champions League second group stage game.