infoBets - Europa League:Bordeaux - Benfica - 14 March 2013
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Europa League:Bordeaux - Benfica

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Preview & Prediction - 14.03.2013

Defender Marc Planus hopes Bordeaux can take heart from ending a woeful run of form in Ligue 1 into their Europa League last-16 second-leg clash with Benfica on Thursday.

 Les Girondins halted a run of four straight league defeats by edging out Bastia 1-0, a result Planus believes could spur them on when they welcome their Portuguese opponents looking to overturn a one-goal deficit.

 "It was important to break that run of four league defeats. After a big game in Benfica on Thursday, getting the win was really important for the team's confidence," the 31-year-old told the club's official website.

 "I think in the Benfica game you could see how much it means to the boys. But unfortunately that effort didn't pay off.

 "Against Bastia we put in a good shift. It wasn't always dazzling to watch, but we had the heart and the determination to win.

 "It was a good afternoon. The important thing was to get the points, no matter what. The performance was pretty good overall."

 An unfortunate own goal from goalkeeper Cedric Carasso was the difference between the sides in a low-quality match at the Estadio da Luz although Planus is still confident Bordeaux can upset the odds and qualify for the last eight.

 "After the way we played in Benfica, we have every reason to hope and believe. Qualifying for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup is a big deal, that doesn't happen many times in a player's career," he added.

 Benfica have suffered a double blow ahead of Thursday night's clash at the Stade Chaban Delmas as first-choice centre-backs Luisao and Ezequiel Garay were ruled out due to injury.

 Captain Luisao has a groin injury, while Argentinian Garay has pulled out with a shoulder complaint to leave the Portuguese club light at the back.

 Jorge Jesus' side, however, are on a three-match winning streak and warmed up for Thursday night's encounter with a 5-0 rout of Gil Vicente in the Primeira Liga.

 However, the Benfica coach warned on SportTV: "This victory lift us for the championship. For the game with Bordeaux, it is another competition."

Sky's Prediction: Bordeaux AH(+0.5) [5/10]
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