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Spartak have backs to wall for Benfica visit

FC Spartak Moskva hope to put their narrow losses to FC Barcelona and Celtic FC behind them and get a much-needed home victory against Group G rivals SL Benfica.

Unai Emery has seen his Spartak side go down to late goals twice already
Unai Emery has seen his Spartak side go down to late goals twice already ©Getty Images

FC Spartak Moskva and SL Benfica meet on matchday three with each knowing another slip-up will leave their UEFA Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.

• Spartak are without a Group G point after 3-2 defeats at FC Barcelona and at home to Celtic FC, while Benfica have just one – from their opening draw in Glasgow.

Match background
• Spartak surrendered 2-1 leads and lost to late goals in both games so far. Furthermore, while the Moscow side beat Fenerbahçe SK 2-1 at the Stadion Luzhniki in this season's play-offs, they have won just one of their last 15 home matches in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

• The last time Spartak hosted Portuguese opposition, in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League quarter-final against FC Porto, they lost 5-2 to complete a 10-3 aggregate defeat.

• Spartak's home record against teams from Portugal is W1 D2 L1. Their solitary victory came in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League first group stage when they beat Sporting Clube de Portugal 3-1 through goals from Robson and Marcão (2).

• Jorge Jesus's Benfica got the better of FC Zenit St Petersburg in last season's round of 16, winning the second leg 2-0 through goals from Maxi Pereira and Nélson Oliveira. It overturned a 3-2 first-leg defeat away from home when they led 1-0 through Pereira but lost despite Óscar Cardozo's 87th-minute strike briefly making it 2-2.

• Benfica's only victory in five attempts in Russia came in October 1996, 3-2 at FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the second leg of their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second-round tie. João Pinto, scorer of the only goal in the first leg, struck the winner with three minutes left.

• When Spartak last lost their first two games in a UEFA Champions League group, in 2002/03, they finished without a point.

Team ties
• Unai Emery's first European coaching assignment came in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round where he his Valencia CF took on CS Marítimo. After a 1-0 victory in Madeira, Emery's side recorded a 2-1 home success.

• Aiden McGeady struck the only goal of Celtic's home UEFA Champions League group win against Benfica on 6 November 2007. Despite Benfica's 1-0 victory in Lisbon a fortnight earlier, it proved decisive in securing Celtic second place ahead of the Eagles. McGeady also featured in Celtic's 3-0 loss at Benfica in the 2006/07 group stage.

• Kim Källström was a second-half substitute in Olympique Lyonnais' 2-0 home success against ten-man Benfica in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Diniyar Bilyaletdinov played in the Everton FC side twice beaten by Benfica in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage – losing 5-0 in Lisbon then 2-0 at home.

• Dmitri Kombarov played 90 minutes as Russia beat Portugal 1-0 in FIFA World Cup qualifying in Moscow on 12 October. Artem Dzyuba and Bilyaletdinov were unused substitutes.

• Luisão is the only survivor of Benfica's last visit to Moscow in February 2005, when they lost 2-0 to eventual winners PFC CSKA Moskva in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 32.

• Pablo Aimar provided two assists as Valencia beat Spartak 3-0 in Moscow in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Pereira helped Uruguay claim a 1-1 friendly draw with Kombarov's Russia in Moscow in May.

• Marek Suchý was an unused substitute as the Czech Republic lost to Portugal in the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-finals.

• José Manuel Jurado was an unused substitute as FC Schalke 04 defeated Ola John's FC Twente in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 32. John was involved when Twente beat Zenit in the last 16 of the 2010/11 competition.

FARE Action Week
• Matchday three of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League will contribute to the fight against all forms of discrimination in football stadiums as UEFA gives its full support to Europe's biggest anti-discrimination campaign – the FARE Action Week. Forty matches across the competitions on 23, 24 and 25 October will restate UEFA's commitment to ensuring that European football is free of racism, intolerance and xenophobia.