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Benfica take on mighty Barca

LISBON, October 1, 2012, Reuters :

Nordsjaelland test for Chelsea

Benfica will rely on little-known duo Nemanja Matic and Enzo Perez, who have played only a handful of games since signing in 2011, to lead the Portuguese league leaders against the vast talents of Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Lanky Serb Matic, brought in to the holding role and Argentine Perez, a winger who has adapted to centre midfield, have been elevated to the first team since the departure of top midfielders Javi Garcia and Axel Witsel over the summer.

With Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique out injured, Barca coach Tito Vilanova deployed new signing Alex Song at centre back alongside fellow converted midfielder Javier Mascherano and they were each at fault as Sevilla opened a shock 2-0 lead at the Sanchez Pizjuan.
There was good news for Vilanova on Sunday when Puyol, midfielder Andres Iniesta and fullback Adriano were given the all-clear by medical staff and included in the squad for the trip to Portugal.

In Turin, two of Europe’s most dominant domestic teams come face-to-face on Tuesday when Juventus, unbeaten in their last 45 Serie A matches, host Shakhtar Donetsk, who have won their last 25 games in all competitions.

Testing times

Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo will have to address his side's shortcomings on the road in Europe on Tuesday with the Londoners unable to afford a slipup against Nordsjaelland, a team new to rubbing shoulders with the continent’s elite.

Chelsea will be expected to win against the Champions League newcomers in Copenhagen after throwing away a two-goal lead to draw their opening Group ‘E’ game at home to Juventus.

Chelsea have never lost to a Danish team and have won on all three visits made to Denmark. Fernando Torres is the only Chelsea player to start every game in all competitions this season but Di Matteo could rest a number of players.

 

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