Benfica vs. Celtic: Preview and TV schedule

Stu Forster

The mission is simple for Neil Lennon and the Hoops. Win and you're in the next round.

When the group stage draw occurred earlier this year, many didn't expect Celtic to figure in to the ultimate result in Group G. To use a tired cliche, that's why they play the games.

Celtic are a win away from qualifying for the Round of 16, but to do it they'll have to do it by winning at the Estádio da Luz for the first time ever. The Hoops shouldn't be short on confidence of course after downing Barcelona two weeks ago, but every Champions League match presents a new challenge and beating Benfica at home is definitely a challenge.

Georgios Samaras will be available, while Scott Brown, Gary Hooper and Joe Ledley are all in contention to play despite having carried various knocks over the past couple weeks.

Benfica welcomed back Luisao third weekend after a two-month suspension as a result of a preseason incident with a referee. He'll bolster an Eagles defense that had been playing pretty well without him. Benfica's attack is led by Óscar Cardozo who terrorized Spartak Moscow two weeks ago. Celtic will have to slow Cardoza down, along with avoiding getting burned by the rest of the dangerous attacking options at Jorge Jesus's disposal.

Benfica injuries and suspensions

Out: Pablo Aimar (thigh). In doubt: Maxi Pereira (thigh).

Celtic injuries and suspensions

Out: James Forrest (groin), Emilio Izaguirre (hamstring), Thomas Rogne (calf). In Doubt: Kris Commons (dead leg), Miku (infection), Joe Ledley (groin).

James Forrest won't be able to recover from a groin issue, but Kris Commons is expected to play after a feared hamstring injury was instead diagnosed as dead leg. Miku had a minor operation to deal with an infection, but he should travel for the match. Pablo Aimar is the only Benfica is serious doubt as he recovers from a thigh injury. Periera is listed as doubtful to probably depending on your ask, but it's reported he trained recently so he'll probably be available.

Match Date/Time: 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal

TV: DirecTV (U.S.), Fox Sports Net (U.S.), Sky Sports 2 (U.K.), Sportsnet (Canada)

Online: FOX Soccer 2 Go (U.S.)

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