Zenit look for turnaround against depleted Benfica

To reach a first-ever quarter-final, Zenit must overcome a disappointing start to 2016 and overturn a 1-0 deficit against a Benfica side in top form but depleted by defensive injuries.

Zenit trian on Tuesday
Zenit trian on Tuesday ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Benfica defending 1-0 last-16 lead at Zenit after Jonas' added-time first-leg strike
  • Ezequiel Garay fit but André Villas-Boas still must make changes on "historic" night
  • Benfica, down to only one senior centre-back, call up Rúben Dias, 18, for first time
  • Rui Vitória says visitors will not sit on one-goal advantage
  • Eagles have won 15 of last 16 competitive games including at Sporting CP on Saturday.

Possible lineups
Zenit: Lodygin; Anyukov, Lombaerts, Garay, Zhirkov; Yusupov, Witsel, Shatov, Danny; Hulk, Dzyuba.
Out: Criscito (suspended), Fayzulin (knee), Javi García (suspended)
Misses next match if booked: Danny, Hulk, Yusupov, Witsel

Benfica: Ederson; Semedo, Lindelöf, Fejsa, Eliseu; Samaris, Renato Sanches, Gaitán, Pizzi; Jonas, Raúl Jiménez.
Out: Jardel (suspended), André Almeida (suspended), Lisandro López (thigh), Júlio César (thigh), Luisão (broken arm)
Doubtful
: none
Misses next match if booked: Luisão, Gonçalo Guedes, Jonas

André Villas-Boas, Zenit coach
Garay will play but Criscito and Javi García will not. We will have to make some changes to the lineup, but it is important to look beyond that. It's a historic moment for us, it is important to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Benfica always play very compactly. They are good in combination play. It is always difficult to find space in how they set up defensively, but we must do that.

Hulk is eager to play and win, he has already written his name into the history of Zenit and continues to do so today. Any player can have an off-day, this is football. We believe that tomorrow we will be able to fix our mistakes, create chances and take them.

Watch highlights of the first leg
Watch highlights of the first leg

Rui Vitória, Benfica coach
Yes, we don't have the easiest of schedules, but we knew that in advance. We have already beaten Sporting, now we are ready to win tomorrow and try to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

We are not rivals with André. He's a great coach, one of the best in the world, who has done an excellent job at all his clubs, including Zenit. I always wish him the best of luck – except the match tomorrow perhaps!

Our goal is always to win. We certainly have a lot to protect here, but we will not forget about attacking and trying to score a goal.

Rúben Dias
Rúben Dias©Getty Images

Benfica always know what to do and always believe in our abilities. Yet it is important to respect the opposition, and Zenit are a good team with great players. Concentration is important for us, we must do everything we can. Despite our injuries, we have high-quality young players in reserve. Rúben Dias is a good young player, the future of Benfica.

Weekend results
Krasnodar 0-0 Zenit
Zenit's first Premier-Liga assignment in three months ended in stalemate, meaning they have won just one of their three fixtures in all competitions in 2016. Villas-Boas's fifth-placed side are nine points behind leaders CSKA Moskva.

Watch how Benfica beat Zenit in 2012 thriller
Watch how Benfica beat Zenit in 2012 thriller

Sporting CP 0-1 Benfica (Mitroglou 20)
Kostas Mitroglou made it eight goals in his last eight appearances in all competitions as Benfica replaced hosts Sporting – who had Adrien Silva sent off late on – at the Portuguese Liga summit. Rui Vitória's men have won 11 of their last 12 league matches.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Zenit: DWLLDL
Benfica: WWWWLW

Reporter's view: Richard van Poortvliet (@UEFAcomRichVP)
Defender Nicolas Lombaerts says reaching the last eight would be a "wonderful achievement" but Zenit will have to be sharper than they were in Lisbon and at the weekend. Villas-Boas also needs Hulk back to his best – the Brazilian has scored just three in 15 games since October. Full-back Domenico Criscito's absence may improve Benfica's chance of a potentially killer goal.

Did you know?
Zenit beat Benfica 1-0 at home in the 2014/15 group stage with Danny, who began his career with Marítimo and Sporting, getting the goal. Find out more in our match background.

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