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Match Previews

Match Preview: Benfica B v Brentford B

18 July 2017

On Wednesday, Brentford B take on their third game of pre-season when they play Benfica B in Portugal.

Kevin O'Connor's side returned from a trip to Hungary on Friday, after two wins from two against ETO Gyor and MSK Zilina. The squad jet off again just four days later to face their Portuguese counterparts.

The opposition

Sport Lisboa e Benfica, to give the team its full name, is one of the top teams in Portugal. The First Team are the current champions of the Primera Liga, having won four league titles in succession. The Eagles are also one of three teams in the country to have never been relegated, alongside Sporting Lisbon and FC Porto.

The Benfica B team play competitive football in LigaPro, the nation's second tier of football. The division also includes B teams from Porto, Sporting, Braga and Vitoria. None of these second squads are eligible for promotion, nor can they compete in the national cup tournaments. They can be relegated, as Maritimo B found out in 2015 - the B side dropping into the third tier after finishing second from bottom.

The Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Profissional (LPFP), who organise football in Portugal, put strict rules on the squads entering B sides into their professional tiers. As such, for league games, the squad must contain no less than 10 players who have come through the Club's academy system. This means that the vast majority of the team will be homegrown.

Some of the biggest names in the team include Pedro Amaral, Jose Gomes and Goncalo Rodrigues, who have both made numerous appearances in Portugal's international youth squads.

The boss

Helder Cristovao, Head Coach of Benfica B, is a former Portugal international with 35 caps to his name and who started Euro 96 as first choice centre-back - the team going all the way to the Quarter-Finals.

He spent most of his domestic playing career with Benfica but moved to Spain with Deportivo La Coruna in 1997, then had a short loan spell with Newcastle United in 1999. After ending his career with Greek side AEL 1964 in 2006, he took up coaching a few years later. He has been a youth coach with Benfica since 2013.

Brentford B

O'Connor will be without winger Henrik Johansson, the Swedish youth international still recovering from a muscle injury sustained last season. In the same area of midfield, Herson Alves returned to full contact training in Hungary and even got some minutes on the pitch in the 2-1 win over MSK Zilina.

The rest of the squad got through the training camp unharmed and will be available for selection.

The B Team have seen plenty of goals go in already this season, Ali Coote leading the way having netted three in two matches. Ilias Chatzitheodoridis, Zain Westbrooke and Theo Archibald have all added one each.

Greek fullback Chatzitheodoridis has already matched last season's tally, when he scored in a pre-season match against FC Midtjylland.

How to follow the game

The match will be covered on Brentford's twitter account @brentfordfc, alongside the match centre that can be found at brentfordfc.com. A full match report will also appear on the website after the game.


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