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UEFA Youth League finalist profile: Benfica

Through to their second final in four seasons of UEFA Youth League competition, Benfica are aiming to better the runners-up finish achieved by the class of 2014.

The Benfica starting XI ahead of their semi-final against Real Madrid on Friday
The Benfica starting XI ahead of their semi-final against Real Madrid on Friday ©Sportsfile

Benfica have reached at least the quarter-finals in each of the UEFA Youth League's four seasons. They came closest to lifting the trophy in 2014, losing 3-0 to Barcelona in the final. Unsurprisingly, the Portuguese outfit have played more games (36) and scored more goals (88) than any other team in the history of this competition.

Road to Nyon
The Eagles won only one of their first four group fixtures and trod a similarly fine line in the knockout stage, overcoming Midtjylland and PSV Eindhoven on penalties in the play-offs and round of 16 respectively after 1-1 draws. CSKA Moskva were then dispatched 2-0 in the last eight and Real Madrid 4-2 in the semi-finals.

Coach: João Tralhão
Tralhão, 36, is in his sixth campaign as coach of Benfica's Under-19s and has an impressive UEFA Youth League record, his side winning 22 of 36 matches.

Semi-final highlights: Real Madrid 2-4 Benfica

Players to watch
Diogo Gonçalves: Including two strikes this season, the forward is on 11 UEFA Youth League goals overall, four behind the all-time record.

José Gomes: Top scorer and golden player at the 2016 UEFA European U17 Championship, 'Zé Golo' has been a regular for Benfica's B team in the Portuguese second tier this term. He made his UEFA Champions League debut against Napoli in September.

João Félix: Félix has contributed six goals in nine UEFA Youth League appearances this campaign. He scored twice versus Madrid on Friday from his starting position on the left of Benfica's front three.