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Everton wary of Eagles' acquired taste

Everton FC visit Lisbon looking to make it nine points out of nine against SL Benfica in UEFA Europa League Group I, but the home side no longer have reason to fear clubs from Merseyside.

Everton wary of Eagles' acquired taste
Everton wary of Eagles' acquired taste ©UEFA.com

Having taken maximum points from their opening two UEFA Europa League Group I games, Everton FC visit Lisbon looking to make it nine out of nine against SL Benfica, but the home side no longer have reason to fear clubs from Merseyside.

Previous meetings
• The two teams have never met before, and this will be Everton's first game against Portuguese opposition. In their ten home games against English sides, Benfica's record is W4 D2 L4.

• Benfica have played Everton's neighbours Liverpool FC on eight occasions. They lost the first five encounters, but have won the last three, most recently prevailing 1-0 at home and 2-0 at Anfield in a 2005/06 UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie.

Match background
• Benfica have won both of their European home games this season, scoring six goals and conceding none.

• Everton won 2-1 at FC BATE Borisov on Matchday 2 to end a three-match wait for an away success. They have now won five of their last eight European fixtures on their travels.

Team facts
• Benfica coach Jorge Jesus had a fine European campaign last season with his previous club, SC Braga. He led them all the way from the UEFA Intertoto Cup to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup, where they lost out to Paris Saint-Germain FC.

• Everton's Scottish manager David Moyes had an unremarkable career as a central defender after starting off as a trainee at Celtic FC. He played the bulk of his games for Shrewsbury Town FC, Dunfermline Athletic FC and Preston North End FC, whom he later coached before moving to Goodison Park in 2002.

• Benfica have more European experience than any other side in the group stage. This match will be their 312th in UEFA club competition, one more than their nearest rivals RSC Anderlecht.

• Everton's Diniyar Bilyaletdinov goes into the encounter having been the leading provider for any team in the group stage so far, setting up three goals.

• Everton striker Louis Saha has already scored twice against Benfica for former club Manchester United FC, registering in home and away group-stage victories in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League.

• A 62,000 Goodison Park crowd saw legendary Benfica forward Eusébio score twice in Portugal's 3-1 defeat of Brazil in a group game at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. Eusébio followed that with four more Goodison goals as Portugal recovered from being 3-0 down to beat North Korea 5-3 in their quarter-final. Everton's ground was then due to stage Portugal's semi-final against England, but the game was switched to Wembley at the last minute. The stadium had earlier welcomed the Portuguese national team for a match against England on 19 May 1951.

• The Toffeemen travelled to the Iberian peninsular as English champions for a pre-season friendly against Benfica on 8 August 1987. The game, which took place in La Coruña, Spain, ended in a 0-0 draw, with Benfica then prevailing 5-3 in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.

• Benfica academy graduate Manuel Fernandes – now with Valencia CF – played 21 times for Everton in the Premier League during two separate loan spells, at the back end of the 2006/07 and 2007/08 campaigns. Former Portuguese international Abel Xavier played for Benfica between 1992 and 1995 and represented Everton between 1999 and 2001.

• Despite managing a solitary goal during a short stay on Merseyside in 1978, former Everton striker Mickey Walsh went on to terrorise Portuguese defences by scoring 42 goals in 75 games for Benfica's rivals FC Porto.

• The two sides meet again in Liverpool on 5 November for Matchday 4.