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Benfica must target Champions League knockouts – Rui Vitoria

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 14 Sep 2015

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Benfica head coach Rui Vitoria says targeting a place in the Champions League knockouts is a must for his side.

The Lisbon giants have only gone beyond the group stage once in their last seven attempts, in the 2011-12 season, when they were beaten by eventual winners Chelsea in the quarter-finals.

Vitoria wants to see a winning start to their campaign this term to give them the best possible chance of progressing, though he is wary of the attacking speed at the disposal of opening opponents Astana.

“We want to start this group stage well, get three points and continue to perform the same way we did on Friday [in the 6-0 thrashing of Belenenses],” he said. 

“We want to qualify from the group, which is something that has not happened too often in the past.

“We will treat Astana like any other opponent. They are a side that are performing very well in their league. They have a lot of match fitness as they are in the middle of their season. They are quick in attack, using both wings; they have two lines of four and two attackers.

“Astana have quality players who, given space, will cause us trouble and try to get behind our defence.”

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