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Benfica vow to go on front foot against Spartak

Jorge Jesus will rely on his SL Benfica side's attacking prowess to overcome FC Spartak Moskva, with away coach Unai Emery expecting the Portuguese team to threaten from all areas.

Jorge Jesus watches on as his Benfica team train on Tuesday morning
Jorge Jesus watches on as his Benfica team train on Tuesday morning ©AFP/Getty Images

Jorge Jesus and Unai Emery are united in their belief that the outcome of Wednesday's game between SL Benfica and FC Spartak Moskva will have a major say in the final make-up of UEFA Champions League Group G. The Portuguese Liga leaders are looking to seize the initiative having lost in Moscow last time out, and Emery knows his team will have to be wary of all variety of dangers if they are to pull off another triumph in Lisbon.

Jorge Jesus, coach  
Spartak are a quality team but we'll try to play our game and use our pace in attack in order to score goals and win the match. It's a decisive game for us – we have to win. If we do, we may still have a chance of qualifying because second spot will be a possibility for us, Celtic and Spartak. The main difference from the league, where we are top, is that we have Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League. Barça are very strong and leave only one place to fight for.

Happily we have three great attackers – Lima, Óscar Cardozo and Rodrigo, who combine very well with each other. The pairing is not always the same, as it depends on the opposition and the recovery time [between matches].

We can see Spartak's strengths away from home by looking at the match at Camp Nou, where they played well and were 2-1 ahead. We have worked out where we think they are strong in order to avoid them causing us trouble on the counterattack.

Weekend result
Saturday: Benfica 3-0 Vitória SC (Óscar Cardozo 37 48pen, Lima 67)
Artur; Pereira, Garay, Jardel, Luisinho; Matić, Martins (Gomes 45+2), John (César 74), Salvio (Gaitán 69); Lima, Cardozo.

• Lima scored his first goal at home this season, having gone into the game with six in all competitions to his name. André Gomes was sent off late on, Benfica's second red card in as many matches.

Team news
Pablo Aimar has been sidelined with a thigh complaint since matchday two, while Carlos Martins is out after limping off just before half-time against Guimarães, also because of a thigh injury. Also missing will be the suspended Nemanja Matić, although Melgarejo has recovered from a knee problem that ruled him out at the weekend.

Unai Emery, coach
In our last match we scored five goals in our best attacking performance. We have important league and Champions League matches coming up and the players who are not in the team now have to work harder to get their places back. However, with so many games coming up, we will need all of them.

It will be a different match from the one in Moscow. We respect Benfica a lot and they'll play very aggressively. It's a complex situation in this group and we, like Benfica, cannot afford to drop points. Celtic are now favourites for second place and it's up to us and Benfica to put up a fight.

We know all about the power of Benfica and what to expect. We have to focus on them as a team. We have to be aware of the attacking threat of their full-backs, Melgarejo and Maxi Pereira, the role of Enzo Peréz, the goalscoring ability of the attackers and the creative danger of [Eduardo] Salvio and [Nicolás] Gaitán on the wings.

Weekend result
Saturday: PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara 0-5 Spartak (Jurado 13, Pareja 38, D Kombarov 69, Dzyuba 76, Ananidze 82)
Rebrov; Insaurralde, Pareja, Makeev, D Kombarov; Carioca, Källström, Bilyaletdinov (K Kombarov 69), Jurado; Ari (Dzyuba 73), Emenike (Ananidze 46).

• The previous time Spartak scored five or more in an away league game was during their most recent championship-winning season, 2001. The Moscow club triumphed 5-0 at FC Fakel Voronezh that year.

Team news
Artem Dzyuba returned at Krylya Sovetov after two games out with a cold.

Match fact
Spartak's record in Portugal is W2 L2, both victories coming in the UEFA Champions League and in Lisbon at Benfica's neighbours Sporting Clube de Portugal – 3-0 in the 2000/01 first group stage and 3-1 in the 2006/07 group stage.