NEWS
Wednesday December 5 2012
Line ups: Messi benched vs Benfica

Barcelona have dropped record-chasing Lionel Messi and a host of other first teamers for the visit of Benfica.

Barca go into their last Champions League fixture of the year already assured of top spot in Group G, with second place the only issue remaining to be resolved. It will go to whichever club gets the better result out of Benfica and Celtic, who take on Spartak Moscow.

Messi, who is just one goal away from equalling Gerd Muller’s record for goals scored in a calendar year, heads a host of Blaugrana stars excluded from Tito Vilanova’s XI for tonight’s clash at Camp Nou.

In fact the only regular starters featuring are David Villa, Carles Puyol, Alex Song and Adriano. Youngsters Rafinha, Sergi Roberto, Martin Montoya and Carles Planas are given run outs.

Benfica have surprisingly dropped Oscar Cardozo and Nicolas Gaitan, but former Barca B player Nolito does start.

Starting line-ups:

Barcelona: Pinto; Montoya, Puyol, Planas, Adriano; Thiago Alcantara, Song, Sergi Roberto; Rafinha, Villa, Tello

Benfica: Artur; Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Melgarejo; Matic, Andre Gomes, Nolito; John, Lima, Rodrigo
 

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