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Benfica aim to advance ahead of time with Basel win

Jorge Jesus will watch SL Benfica's match at FC Basel 1893 at a hotel but has already ordered his Group C leaders to throw a spanner in the works of a side he likens to a "Swiss watch".

Ezequiel Garay shares a joke in training on Tuesday
Ezequiel Garay shares a joke in training on Tuesday ©Getty Images

SL Benfica coach Jorge Jesus will not be in the dugout on matchday four as he serves a one-game ban, but he has instructed his players to ensure things do not go like clockwork for FC Basel 1893. A repeat of their 2-0 win a fortnight ago will take them through to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 but the visitors, whom Jesus compared to a "Swiss watch", have aspirations of their own.

Coach Jorge Jesus
It's good that we go into matchday four knowing a win will take us through to the last 16. After the game in Basel we know this will be very hard. Basel play like a Swiss watch: they have a system that does not alter. The players may change but, from what I have seen, their playing style remains the same.

Me being suspended is a new experience. I'll stay in our hotel; my assistants know what to do and I have full confidence in them. It won't be a problem.

Marco Streller's absence is good news for us because he's very important in the Basel lineup. He's central to their attacking moves, combining with Alexander Frei, and also in defence. Almost all our corners [on matchday three] ended on his head. I honestly didn't expect to be so close to the last 16 at this stage; we have three matches to complete the job.

Weekend result
Saturday: Benfica 2-1 SC Olhanense
(Rodrigo 1 13; Eduardo 47)
Artur; Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Garay, Emerson; Matić, Bruno César, Gaitán (Nolito 65), Aimar (Witsel 46); Rodrigo, Cardozo (Saviola 81)

• Rodrigo scored twice on his first Liga start for Benfica, his opener coming after just 25 seconds − the fastest goal in the Portuguese top flight this term − as the Eagles extended their unbeaten start to the season to 17 games in all competitions.

Team news
Óscar Cardozo is doubtful with a back problem but Jesus is confident he has "lots of options in attack". Javi García (dead leg) and Enzo Peréz (knee) are out of action but Ruben Amorim is available having missed matchday three with a thigh knock. Maxi Pereira, who returned from a thigh injury on Saturday, and 19-year-old Luis Martins are vying to replace the suspended Emerson at left-back.

Coach Heiko Vogel

The mood in the camp is positive following a three-goal league win [against Grasshopper-Club]. We are aware of the troubles Benfica will cause us, but we are still happy to be here. Our defensive absentees [Kay Voser and Cabral are injured, Genséric Kusunga is not match fit] may cause problems but I have a few solutions. Benfica are strong anywhere, not just at home, so we know what to expect.

Manchester United are the only team that haven't lost here in Lisbon [this season] and that shows how powerful they are at home. We won't play for a draw, but I expect that Benfica are most eager to make sure they do not lose. Not that we are expecting anything but a strong performance from Benfica.

Weekend result
Saturday: Basel 4-1 Grasshopper-Club
 (Shaqiri 6, Andrist 19, A Frei 26, F Frei 77; Toko 68)
Sommer; Steinhöfer, Abraham, Dragović, Park; Shaqiri (Zoua 69), F Frei, G Xhaka (Chipperfield 61), Andrist; A Frei, Streller (T Xhaka 80)

• Alexander Frei scored his 11th goal in his last nine club outings as Basel secured their tenth win in 13 games in all competitions.

Team news
Streller has gastroenteritis and has not travelled to Lisbon, joining Valentin Stocker (knee), Gilles Yapi (knee), Voser (ankle) and Cabral (knee) on the sidelines. Kusunga is available, but has not played since suffering a knee injury in August.

Match fact
Benfica are unbeaten against Swiss opposition, having recorded a home win and an away draw against both FC La Chaux-de-Fonds in the 1964/65 European Champion Clubs' Cup and FC Zürich in the 1982/83 UEFA Cup. Benfica assistant coach Minervino Pietra played in both ties against Zürich.