Home » Champ League, Latest » CL Match Preview: Benfica vs Chelsea

The UEFA Champions League resumes on Tuesday with Benfica and Chelsea playing the first leg of their quarter-final clash at the Estadio da Luz.

Benfica secured their place in the last-16 after getting the better of Zenit St Petersburg while Chelsea staged a remarkable comeback against Napoli to secure a 5-4 aggregate success.

The Portuguese giants have been impressive on home soil of late as they boast a 10-match unbeaten run in Europe while they also drew home and away with Manchester United in the group stage.

In contrast the Blues lost 3-1 away to Napoli while the club failed to win any of their away matches in Group E having lost to Bayer Leverkusen and drawn at Genk and Valencia.

Domestically both sides were held at the weekend with Benfica being frustrated in a goalless draw at Olhanense while Chelsea’s clash with Tottenham on Saturday also finished without a goal.

In the build-up to the game, veteran midfielder Frank Lampard stated the club were “not as good as we used to be”, something interim boss Roberto Di Matteo has disagreed with.

Italian boss Di Matteo does not believe Chelsea are a ‘weak’ team, stating: “Everybody seems to have an opinion, and they have that right, but I disagree. I don’t think we’re a weak team, not at all.”

Benfica are hoping to reach the semi-finals of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time in over 20 years with their last appearance in the final four coming in 1990.

Chelsea, by contrast, have been regular semi-finalists in the past decade. This is the club’s eighth quarter-final appearance in the last 13 seasons, and they have won five of the previous seven.

Team news

Di Matteo must decide whether to retain England internationals Gary Cahill and captain John Terry at the heart of the club’s defence.

The pair performed well against Spurs at Stamford Bridge over the weekend while ex-Benfica man David Luiz has started all Chelsea’s European games this season.

Didier Drogba started the draw against Harry Redknapp’s men meaning Fernando Torres was on the bench and it will be interesting to see if the Spaniard is recalled.

Brazilian midfielder Ramires is almost certain to start against his former club alongside Lampard and Michael Essien in the middle of the park.

Benfica playmaker Pablo Aimar will be well rested having emerged off the bench against Olhanense before being sent off as a substitute.

The Argentinian will be expected to create chances for the likes of goal machines Rodrigo and Oscar Cardozo, who is the club’s leading scorer in this year’s Champions League.

In defence Brazil centre-back Luisao will likely form a partnership with compatriot Jardel in the absence of Ezequiel Garay who is doubtful.

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