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Champions League: Benfica keen to repeat history by eliminating Man United

Champions League: Benfica keen to repeat history by eliminating Man United

Benfica can eliminate Manchester United from the Champions League for the second straight season with a win at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
"It's a final," Benfica coach Fernando Santos said. "We have to believe we can do it. We just need a little bit of luck."
United has nine points and Benfica seven going into Wednesday's Group F match.
The Red Devils need only a draw to advance to the last 16; Benfica has to win to go through. Alex Ferguson's side has left qualification until the final rotation after winning its first three matches.
"It's a really big night for us," Man United striker Wayne Rooney said. "Everyone at the club realizes how important this match is to United."
The Portuguese club's 2-1 win in the final group rotation at Old Trafford last season knocked United out before the knockout stages for the first time in 10 years.
United defender Rio Ferdinand is determined that won't happen again.
"The situation doesn't breed nervousness in our dressing room," he said. "This squad doesn't get nervous. The big games _ when people are asking questions about us or think we won't do well _ we seem to come through it. This is an opportunity to do that again."
Last season, Benfica went on to eliminate 2005 champion Liverpool before losing to eventual champion FC Barcelona in the quarterfinals. United didn't even qualify for the UEFA Cup because it finished bottom of the group.
Benfica is expected to field the same team that won 2-0 at Sporting in last weekend's Lisbon derby, the Eagles' best performance of the season.
Brazilian central defender Luisao and Italian striker Fabrizio Miccoli both returned from injury for that game, while striker Nuno Gomes and midfielder Konstantinos Katsouranis have also recovered from injury.
United also has no injury worries.
United won 1-0 at Benfica on Sept. 26 but went lost 1-0 at FC Copenhagen and Celtic, which has already advanced. Benfica beat Celtic 3-0 and Copenhagen 3-1 in its two previous Champions League matches.
If United loses, it will drop down into the UEFA Cup, European soccer's second-tier competition. Benfica will join that competition if it draws or loses.
Among those rooting for Benfica is Chelsea's Portuguese manager, Jose Mourinho. He was coach of Porto when it knocked United out of the competition in the last 16 two years ago.
"If they go to Manchester and play at their highest level they can do it," said Mourinho, whose team trails United by six points in the Premier League. "Of course, it is not easy, but they can do it. Benfica have got a chance."


Updated : 2021-10-17 14:13 GMT+08:00