Search

Spurs v Benfica: The lowdown on the Portuguese league leaders

07:45 13 March 2014

Benfica

Benfica's Oscar Cardozo

EMPICS Sport

Tottenham host Jorge Jesus’ Benfica at White Hart Lane tonight in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Benfica coach Jorge JesusBenfica coach Jorge Jesus

The lowdown…

Tottenham may be as far away from the Champions League as ever this week, but they will get the chance to test themselves against one of Europe’s elite sides at White Hart Lane tonight.

Benfica dropped out of the Champions League last season and went on to reach the Europa League final, losing 2-1 to Chelsea in Amsterdam after a 90th-minute winner from Branislav Ivanovic.

So far history is repeating itself and Jorge Jesus’ outfit fell just short in the Champions League group stage again this term.

Benfica picked up 10 points but still finished third behind Paris St Germain and Olympiakos in Group C, narrowly losing out to the Greeks on goal difference.

Falling into the familiar Europa League, Jesus’ side faced PAOK Salonika in the last 32, and they triumphed 1-0 in Greece before winning 3-0 at the Stadium of Light.

That victory in the second leg gave them their 10th successive home win in the Europa League, a run that started back in April 2010 – a record for the tournament, which they share with Atletico Madrid.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, Benfica are leading the Portuguese league by seven points, lying ahead of Sporting Lisbon and FC Porto.

Jesus feels the tie is worthy of Europe’s senior competition, stating: “Tottenham are a top-class Premier League team. It will be hard but they have to respect Benfica too, they will be facing an excellent team. Now it’s like the Champions League.”

Ones to watch…

The Paraguayan forward Oscar Cardozo is a stylish frontman who scored six goals in seven games earlier in the campaign – and it was he who got Benfica’s goal against Chelsea in last year’s Europa League final.

Brazilian striker Rodrigo Lima has scored nine goals in his last 15 games, netting in both legs of the last-32 tie against PAOK.

At the other end of the pitch, defender and captain Luisao has been at the club since 2003, and has played for Brazil in two World Cups and three Copa America tournaments.

Right-back Maxi Pereira is an experienced Uruguay international and is likely to be lining up against England in the summer’s World Cup.

Last meeting…

Bill Nicholson’s Tottenham faced Benfica in the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1962.

Benfica took a 2-0 lead in the first leg in Lisbon and, although Bobby Smith halved the decifit, the Portuguese side won the match 3-1.

Spurs went 4-1 down after 15 minutes in the return leg at the Lane, but they fought back and Greaves saw a goal controversially ruled out for offside before Smith made it 1-1 on the night.

Spurs poured forward and Danny Blanchflower scored a second-half penalty to make it 4-3 on aggregate, but the equaliser never came. Dave Mackay came closest when he agonisingly hit the crossbar in the final moments.

Benfica went on to beat Real Madrid 5-3 in the final thanks to two goals from the legendary Eusebio.

Prediction…

It promises to be a great occasion under the lights at the Lane, but we can see Benfica getting a 1-1 draw which will leave them in pole position for the return leg.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino is proud of Tottenham’s passion and character and is pleased that his side are “not a nice team to play” any more – but he admits his players “crossed the line” against Chelsea and must learn to control themselves better in future.

Hampstead captain Steve Clark. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead are aiming to be the first team for five years to retain the Middlesex County League title – and captain Steve Clark believes a fierce competition for places can help his side to keep their crown.

Benham & Reeves' David Price (centre) presents this season's shirt to North Middlesex's captain Tom Nicoll (left) and new coach Dave Robson. Pic: Max Flego

Skipper Tom Nicoll has challenged North Middlesex’s top-order batsmen to give last season’s talisman Evan Flowers more support as the Crouch End club bid to maintain their progress in the Premier Division.

Yesterday, 12:01
Paul Weekes of Hornsey CC

Hornsey batsman Chetan Patel believes the appointment of Paul Weekes as captain is a huge boost to their promotion prospects.

Yesterday, 12:00
Tottenham's Erik Lamela (left) and Arsenal's Hector Bellerin battle for the ball during the 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane in March

Tottenham blogger David Lee says it is important for Spurs to finish above north London arch-rivals Arsenal after their title dream was ended by Chelsea.

Yesterday, 11:00
Brondesbury captain Adam Wilson (left) presents overseas signing Glenn Phillips with his shirt. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Captain Adam Wilson hopes Brondesbury can pick up where they left off last season and win promotion this time, having fallen short last campaign.

Yesterday, 10:01
Highgate celebrate after clinching promotion from Middlesex County League Division Three last season. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Highgate are readying themselves for new challenges after going through last season unbeaten as they cruised to the Division Three championship.

Yesterday, 09:01
North London CC captain Sam Bardon

North London’s new captain Sam Bardon is hoping his side can pick up where they left off at the end of last season.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe