In-form Benfica welcome history-makers Astana

Rui Vitória wants Benfica to keep up the form they showed in scoring six goals on Friday as they welcome Kazakhstan's debutants Astana in Group C.

Kostas Mitroglou trains on Monday
Kostas Mitroglou trains on Monday ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Rui Vitória wants Benfica to perform as they did on Friday when Astana visit
  • Benfica hit six ahead of their Group C opener and are aiming for the last 16
  • Astana are the first Kazakh side in the group stage, making the longest-ever trip
  • Stanimir Stoilov's team have lost just four of their 34 games in all competitions in 2015

Possible lineups
Benfica: Júlio César; Nélson Semedo, Jardel, Luisão, Eliseu; Samaris, Talisca, Gaitán, Guedes; Jonas, Mitroglou.
Out: Salvio (knee)

Astana: Erić; Ilić, Postnikov, Aničić, Shomko; Dzholchiyev, Cañas, Maksimović, Kéthévoama, Zhukov; Nuserbayev.
Out
: Twumasi (suspended)

Rui Vitória, Benfica coach
We want to start this group stage well, get three points and continue to perform the same way we did on Friday. First up are Astana, and we want to qualify from the group, which is something that has not happened too often in the past. We will treat Astana like any other opponent.

They are a side that are performing very well in their league. They have a lot of match fitness as they are in the middle of their season. They are quick in attack, using both wings; they have two lines of four and two attackers. Astana have quality players who, given space, will cause us trouble and try to get behind our defence.

Watch: Inside the Astana camp
Watch: Inside the Astana camp

Stanimir Stoilov, Astana coach
I am glad to be back in Portugal after 20 years [Stoilov played for Campomaiorense]. It will be a very tough match because Benfica are a very strong, ambitious and well-organised team. We want to stop them getting into areas where they can hurt us.

We are a bit inexperienced at European level but if we stay organised and disciplined, we can score goals on the counterattack. Yes, they are favourites but anything can happen. Just being at this stage is motivation enough to deliver a performance. Our being in the Champions League is a great opportunity for Kazakhstani football.

Weekend results
Benfica 6-0 Belenenses (Mitroglou 5 53, Jonas 17 40, Gaitán 60, Talisca 63)
Benfica made it three home wins, scoring 13 goals, from their opening four Liga games. Kostas Mitroglou and Jonas claimed two each with Nicolás Gaitán and Talisca completing the rout.

Mitroglou and Jonas celebrate
Mitroglou and Jonas celebrate©AFP/Getty Images

Ordabasy 2-3 Astana (Tunggyshbayev 10, Junuzović 62; Muzhikov 31, Kabananga 56, Nuserbayev 90)
Tanat Nuserbayev grabbed a 90th-minute winner for the ten-man visitors who had trailed early on and subsequently led 2-1.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)*
Benfica: WWLWL
Astana: WDWWWD

*This season only

Did you know?
Astana are making their debut whereas Benfica are in the group stage for the 11th time – yet how many times have they reached the knockout rounds from their last seven attempts? Find out this and more in our extensive match background.

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