SL Benfica have lost their last two home fixtures and, having gone down at FC Spartak Moskva on matchday three, can ill afford another setback in their Group G rematch.
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SL Benfica will look to get back to winning ways at home when they host FC Spartak Moskva on matchday four.
• The Portuguese side slipped to fourth in Group G when they went down 2-1 in Moscow last time out and with one point, two adrift of third-placed Spartak, need a first victory in this season's group stage to kick-start their campaign.
• Beaten by FC Barcelona in Lisbon on matchday two, Jorge Jesus's Benfica have now lost two in a row at home in UEFA competition following their 1-0 reverse against Chelsea FC in last season's quarter-finals. They have never before suffered three straight home defeats in Europe so will want to avoid an unwanted first against Unai Emery's visitors.
• Prior to those two recent defeats Benfica had gone ten European home games unbeaten, culminating in a 2-0 victory against FC Zenit St Petersburg in last term's UEFA Champions League round of 16, as Maxi Pereira and Nélson Oliveira's goals overturned a 3-2 first-leg deficit.
• With that win over Zenit, Benfica maintained an unbeaten home record against Russian opposition which stands now at W3 D2 L0.
• Spartak were narrow 3-2 losers at Barcelona in their previous Group G away outing having previously held Fenerbahçe SK 1-1 in Istanbul in the play-offs. Overall they have suffered just three defeats in their last ten European away fixtures, winning four of them.
• The last time Spartak visited Portuguese opposition in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League quarter-final against FC Porto, they lost 5-1 en route to a 10-3 aggregate defeat. Dmitri Kombarov hit a 70th-minute own goal, his twin brother Kirill scoring in the right net 60 seconds later.
• 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, when Artem Dzyuba appeared as an added-time substitute.
• Emery's first European coaching assignment came in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round where his Valencia CF side took on CS Marítimo. After a 1-0 victory in Madeira, Emery's men recorded a 2-1 home success.
• Benfica assistant coach Minervino Pietra was in the team that overcame their first ever Russian opponents, FC Torpedo Moskva, converting a spot kick in a 4-1 shoot-out success after two goalless draws in the 1977/78 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round.
• Aiden McGeady struck the only goal of Celtic's home UEFA Champions League group win against Benfica on 6 November 2007. It made amends for Benfica's 1-0 victory in Lisbon a fortnight earlier and proved decisive in securing Celtic second place ahead of the Eagles. McGeady also featured as a substitute 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. Dzyuba and Bilyaletdinov were unused substitutes.
• Luisão is the only survivor of Benfica's 3-1 aggregate loss 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 first 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 for the Czech Republic side beaten by 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.