Match Preview and Team News
Getafe´s preparations for their UEFA Cup Round of 16 first leg against Benfica have been hit by a number of injuries to key members of the squad. The visiting side are undefeated in seven UEFA cup games in this, their debut, European campaign and first match against Portuguese opposition...
Getafe finished top of Group G to qualify for the Round of 32 where they beat AEK Athens FC 4-1 on aggregate.
However, Benfica may present Getafe with their sternest examination yet and the task has been made all the more difficult for coach Michael Laudrup who travels to Portugal with an enforced unfamiliar line up. Getafe will be without Mario who is struggling with a thigh injury while his fellow defenders Franck Signorino and David Cortés both picked up injuries in Sunday's 3-3 home draw with RCD Mallorca and both face late fitness tests.
Laudrup has problems in attack as well. Ikechukwu Uche, who scored in the 1-0 league win at Real Madrid two weeks ago, pulled a thigh muscle against Mallorca. Albín may get a rare start.
Albín, Braulio and Pablo Hernández are within a booking of a one-match ban along with Benfica's Óscar Cardozo, Maxi Pereira and Luís Filipe. Petit is serving a one-match suspension while Augustin Binya still has two games of a four-match ban to go.
Getafe´s Cosmin Contra was pragmatic in front of the press last night, and said "Benfica are favourites, they have more pressure, they are the side that have to get through. Our dream is to make the quarter-finals and then see what happens".
However, Contra, a UEFA Cup finalist in 2001 with Alaves, remains optimistic and said "We need not fear any opponent, regardless of reputations. On the pitch it is eleven against eleven, and Getafe have shown they can play good football against anyone. Benfica are a good footballing team but I´m sure we will give a good account of ourselves."
Benfica´s record against Spanish opposition is not good. In Spain itself, they have won just once - beating Real Betis Balompié 2-1 in the first round of the 1982/83 UEFA Cup - drawing another game and losing six.Furthermore, since beating Betis, they have not won in their last ten games against Spanish opposition, a run which includes a 7-0 loss to Celta de Vigo in the third round of the 1999/00 UEFA Cup.
Benfica coach José Antonio Camacho is, of course well known to La Liga fans. The former left-back represented Madrid throughout his playing career, from 1973 to 1989. He moved into coaching and was in charge of Rayo Vallecano, RCD Espanyol and Sevilla FC before taking the reins as Spanish national coach between 1988 and 2002.
Unfortunately, following the sudden death of his father, whose funeral is scheduled for the morning of the matchday, Camacho is expected to be just a spectator this evening. Benfica assistant coach Pepe Carcelén stood in for Camacho at the news conference last night.
Nuno Gomes and Petit missing, but Augustin Binya is banned to further reduce midfield options; at the back Luisão is doubtful with a knee problem and David Luiz sidelined by an injured right foot; in attack, Ariza Makukula is struggling with a thigh complaint and Freddy Adu on international duty.