After the heroics in the win against Barcelona last week, the expectations have been raised for Celtic’s trip to Lisbon. Benfica can draw level on points with Neil Lennon’s side if they win so they won’t be rolling over.
Celtic arguably have a stronger side with the returns of Scott Brown and Gary Hooper so the 11/2 pre-match price for them to win in 90 minutes could be the bet of the night. If they win, obviously.
I’ll be here throughout the game with live updates, as well as keeping an eye on proceedings between Juventus and Chelsea. I’ll watch the highlights of United’s trip to Galatasaray later tonight.
Final Score: Benfica 2 – 1 Celtic
21.45: All three British sides have lost tonight with an understrength Man Utd losing 1-0 against Galatasaray in Turkey. Having already secured top spot in that group Alex Ferguson will shrug this one off. It’s a different story in Turin where Chelsea were soundly beaten by Juventus. If it wasn’t for Petr Cech they could have lost by more than three goals. Roberto Di Matteo has a crucial few weeks coming up. Losing to Man City this Sunday and failing to make it through to the last 16 of the Champions League may prove too much for Roman Abramovich to bear.
21.39: Benfica have to go to the Camp Nou in their final game and with the Catalans already losing there to Celtic, they won’t want to be embarrassed at home twice in the one group stage. Shakhtar have nothing to play for when they visit Celtic Park so despite the loss, the advantage is still with Neil Lennon’s side.
21.38: Full-time. It goes to the final game after Benfica deservedly beat Celtic.
21.37: Tony Watt shoots from out wide but for some reason Hooper doesn’t stick his leg out and the ball goes wide.
21.35: A Celtic free-kick is cleared to the edge of the Benfica box where Kayal meets it but he’s unable to keep the ball down.
21.32: Cordozo almost finishes Celtic off, nutmegging Ambrose on the edge of the box but his shot is a little too close to Forster who pushes the ball over.
21.31: Juventus finish Chelsea off with Giovinco grabbing a third in Turin.
21.29: Wanyama goes in the book, harshly in my opinion. He’ll miss the game against Shakhtar now. A big, big loss for Celtic in what’s looking like a must win game.
21.23: Tony Watt is on for Ledley. Does the boy have more heroics in him? Forster does anyway as he tips over Cordozo’s rasping free-kick.
To score the 4th goal: Benfica 21/10, Celtic 11/2, No 4th goal 4/7
21.20: One goal away from qualification, can Celtic equalise?
21.17: Salvio hits the bar! Benfica go close to a third but Salvio’s shot from outside the box hits the top of the woodwork with Forster beaten. Celtic need to sort their defending out.
21.15: Benfica score!! That was only a short reprieve as Wilson lets Garay go free at the back post and he smashes the ball past Forster. Great finish, very poor defending.
21.13: That looked a certain goal for Benfica but Salvio fails to make contact with the cross. He should have done better there.
21.10: Kris Commons will offer more going forward than the departed Brown so Celtic could still nick a win.
To score the 3rd goal: Benfica 10/11, Celtic 4/1, No 3rd goal 13/8
21.08: Playing Scott Brown looks to have been a mistake. The Celtic captain hasn’t been at his best by quite a way and is coming off for Kris Commons.
21.05: It’s all Benfica at the moment but thankfully Matic lashes his shot from distance well over the bar. Celtic need to get hold of the ball and string more than two passes together.
21.03: Juventus go 2-0 up through Vidal. A defeat puts the defending champions on the brink of going out before the knock-out stages.
21.02: Luisao can’t keep the ball down, scooping the ball over the bar from 12 yards after getting a knock-down from a corner. Celtic looking nervy at the back again.
Price Update: Benfica 5/6, Draw 6/4, Celtic 13/2
20.58: Man Utd are losing in Turkey after Yilmaz put the home side in front ten minutes in to the second half. In Turin, Chelsea continue to fend of Juventus’ attacks.
20.56: Goal line clearance by Matthews after Lima goes close following a merry dance through the Celtic box. A heady mix of poor defending and excellent defending from Celtic right now.
20.55: It’s been a similar start to the second half with Benfica enjoying the majority of the attacking play.
20.53: Some love earlier on for the Bhoys from Adam Richman, the presenter of Man vs Food. He’s looking a lot slimmer these days now he’s not eating 8lbs of food for lunch anymore.
As a petennial fan of the underdog, I have to say that Celtic's run in the Champions League has been exhilarating! Good Luck Bhoys!—
Adam Richman (@AdamRichman) November 20, 2012
20.50. Kayal comes on for the ailing Mulgrew as Lennon is forced in to a change.
20.49: The second half is underway in Lisbon.
20.47: There has to be a joke about Samaras, Jesus and crosses but I can’t think of one which won’t get me fired. If I do you’ll be the first to hear it.
20.36: Chelsea are 1-0 down in Turin and poor Roberto Di Matteo will edge closer to being replaced by Pep Guardiola if the Blues lose there tonight. There’s no score in Turkey but Man Utd have been under the cosh by all accounts.
Price Update: Benfica 8/11, Draw 9/5, Celtic 6/1
20.32: Half-time. Benfica had the better of the first half, thanks largely to a nervy start from Celtic. They got back in to it after Samaras’ goal but still look too open at the back. Neil Lennon will look to sort out a few defensive issues during the break.
20.31: Some frantic defending needed at the end of the first half from Celtic as Benfica push forward. Silvio shows smoe good skill but his shoot deflects behind for a corner. Forster is judged to have been fouled from the corner kick.
20.29: This is a much more even game since Samaras’ goal. Saying that Ola John goes close after connecting with a cross from the right but Foster saves with his legs.
20.26: Celtic are carved open at the back as Benfica briefly have three on two but Lima makes a woeful decision with his pass.
20.25: Samaras receives a very harsh booking for dissent after what looked like an expletive free grumble.
20.23: Juventus go 1-0 against Chelsea. Quagliarella scores with a shot from the edge of the box. They almost go two up straight away but Ashley Cole makes a fine clearance on the line. Great defending.
20.22: That goal has made a difference on this game. Celtic have done all the attacking since.
Price Update: Benfica 8/13, Draw 11/5, Celtic 5/1
20.19: A great corner from Mulgrew but some very weak goalkeeping from Artur in the Benfica goal. Hopefully that will spark Celtic in to life.
20.17: Celtic equalise!! Georgias Samaras heads in at the back post after a fine Charlie Mulgrew corner.
20.15: Cordoza goes close to doing just that but hits the side netting after getting in behind the Celtic defence.
To score 2nd goal: Benfica 8/15, Celtic 11/5, No more goals 5/1
20.14: Celtic are looking short of ideas when they do get the ball going forward. Benfica looking the more likely to score the next goal.
20.11: Victor Wanyama literally draws first blood by smashing Perez with his shoulder. The Benfica man leaves to get his bloody mouth sorted.
20.09: The game has slowed down a touch but Benfica are still controlling the ball. In Turin Juventus look the most likely to score first.
20.03: A poor call there as Ledley puts Hooper clear but he’s judged to have been offside. He would have been clean through were it not for some hair-trigger flag work from the official.
20.01: They’re enjoying a lively first fifteen minutes in Turin where Chelsea and Juventus have both gone close. Still 0-0.
19.58: There’s plenty of time to get back in to this game but Celtic need to keep hold of the ball when they get it.
Price Update: Benfica 1/8, Draw 6/1, Celtic 16/1
19.54: A good finish from John but Celtic have started poorly. They look open at the back and have struggled to maintain possession in midfield.
19.52: Benfica score! Ola John calmly slots the ball into the bottom corner after some sloppy defending from Celtic.
19.47: Cordoza has the first shot of the game after Samaras is dispossessed too easily. Forster is untroubled as it flies well over the bar.
19.46: And we have kick-off.
19.42: As we close in on kick-off, if Celtic can defend as well as they did at the Camp Nou they have a great chance of bagging the win. This Benfica side will cough up chances at the back but they’re dangerous going forward. That sounds like a recipe for a high-scoring game. Celtic now only need a draw after Barcelona’s win earlier.
19.38: Gary Hooper has 3 goals in 7 European games this season. The returning frontman is 15/2 to score first but I’m loving the 23/10 on him to score anytime. That looks a great bet is he’s fully fit.
Match Prices: Benfica 8/15, Draw 3/1, Celtic 11/2
19.31: The commentators are waxing lyrical about Fraser Forster and rightly so. England fans will be happy to have some genuine competition for Joe Hart. Celtic fans probably don’t really give a shit about England in fairness.
19.22: Andy Gray reckons Celtic, Chelsea and United could struggle tonight. Is he right?
01 Artur, 04 Luisao, 24 Garay, 25 Melgarejo, 15 Ola John, 21 Matic, 34 Almeida, 35 Perez, 07 Cardozo, 11 Lima, 18 Eduardo Salvio
01 Forster, 02 Matthews, 04 Ambrose, 06 Wilson, 21 Mulgrew, 23 Lustig, 08 Brown, 16 Ledley, 67 Wanyama, 09 Samaras, 88 Hooper