- Maurizo Sarri wary of a Benfica side who “almost eliminated Bayern” last term
- Coach adds of Napoli: “We have a lot of room for improvement, especially our mentality”
- Benfica unbeaten in 17 matches in all competitions, Napoli undefeated in ten
- Napoli have never lost in five previous home games against Portuguese opposition
- Benfica press conference scheduled for 18:30CEST
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Koulibaly, Albiol, Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamšík; Callejón, Milik, Mertens.
Out: Chiricheş (knee)
Benfica: Júlio César; Semedo, Lindelöf, Jardel, Grimaldo; Fejsa, Horta, Pizzi, Salvio; Guedes, Mitroglou.
Out: Jonas (foot), Jiménez (knee), Rafa (thigh), Samaris (ankle)
Maurizio Sarri, Napoli coach
I have watched a lot of Benfica matches and they usually dictate the tempo quite easily. They have technique but not only that – they are also very well organised. Last season they almost eliminated Bayern, which says a lot about their strength. They like to build from the back, and it will not be easy to control the game because it is hard to get the ball off them and force them into making mistakes. Up front they have a player I like a lot in Gonçalo Guedes – he is extremely talented. I expect a harder game than our first one in Kyiv [a 2-1 win at Dynamo] but we have a lot of room for improvement, especially our mentality, and I want to see those improvements tomorrow.
Rui Vitória, Benfica coach
Press conference scheduled for 18:30CEST
Napoli 2-0 Chievo (Gabbiadini 24, Hamšík 39)
Napoli (W19 D3) have not lost at home in the Italian championship since a 4-2 reverse against Lazio on 31 May 2015. They are on a run of nine consecutive Serie A wins at the Stadio San Paolo. Against Chievo, Marek Hamšík hit his 100th goal for the club.
Chaves 0-2 Benfica (Mitroglou 69, Pizzi 84)
On the mark twice against Braga on Monday, Kostas Mitroglou struck again as the Eagles posted their 15th successive Liga away victory.
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Reporter’s view: Paolo Menicucci (@UEFAcomPaoloM)
Napoli are unbeaten at home in Serie A since May 2015, while the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal have been scalped at the San Paolo in the last five years. Sarri’s side won at the weekend despite resting a few players, and they have Hamšík in top form which means a difficult night in prospect for Benfica. However, for all the Eagles’ injury problems, they have the experience – and talent – to trouble any team.
Did you know?
Benfica had one of their own players to blame for their inability to take all three points on matchday one. Talisca, loaned to Beşiktaş last month, fired a sensational last-gasp free-kick to earn the Turkish visitors a 1-1 draw in Lisbon. Find out more in our extensive match background.