- (Photo: Reuters/David Moir)
Benfica plays hosts to Celtic in what is a must-win for the Portuguese side if they have any hope of advancing to the next round of the Champions League.
Time is running out for Jorge Jesus and his club, who finds themselves with only four points after four games. The Portuguese side trails Celtic by three points and group leaders Barcelona by five points. Should the Eagles suffer a loss during today's match, it would mean elimination from the tournament.
The loss would put the club six points behind Celtic and five behind Barcelona (if the Spanish club does not win its match against Spartak Moscow) with only three possible points remaining in the group stage.
Should they draw Celtic, it would keep them three points behind Celtic with one match remaining. That poses its own certain problem, given that their final game would come against Barcelona.
To help Benfica's cause, they recently welcomed back Luisao after a 2-month suspension stemming from a pre-season incident with a referee. He will be able to sure up a back line that has played inconsistently during the group stage.
Benfica's offensive attack is spearheaded by Oscar Cardozo, who lifted the Eagles over Spartak Moscow two weeks ago.
Celtic and manager Neil Lennon have put behind them their 0-0 draw against Benfica during the pair's first meeting. They have also forgotten about their spectacular 2-1 victory at home over Barcelona two weeks ago and are looking to secure their place in the next round of the Champions League.
If Lionel Messi did not score late against Celtic, they would have shut out Barcelona at home and would have been clear-cut favorites to win this match.
Celtic will be looking to get solid production from Greek international Georgios Samaras and will welcome the return of Scott Brown, Gary Hooper and Joe Ledley, who have been suffering from various ailments.
Kick-off for the match is at 2:45 ET and can be watched online here.
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