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Benfica remains confident despite Luisao suspension

FIFA extended Benfica captain Luisao's two-month ban for pushing a referee in a friendly game to all competitions, meaning he'll miss Benfica's game at Celtic in their UEFA Champions League opener on Wednesday.

Luisao knocked German referee Christian Fischer out cold in the first half of Benfica's friendly against Fortuna Dusseldorf in August. While his teammates were arguing with Fischer over a call he had made, Luisao raced up to the referee and bumped him with his chest, sending him to the ground. Luisao said he had a "clear conscience," and Benfica denounced Fischer's fall as a "lamentable display of theater."

Fischer and his refereeing crew abandoned the game, and Fortuna Dusseldorf asked that Luisao be banned. The Portuguese federation responded by banning the 31-year-old Brazilian for two months.

Even without Luisao, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus says Benfica is confident about its opener. "We are prepared for all conditions," he said. "The fact this has happened to Luisao is important but we have other players. It's important to note that we focus on the game. All players have the same importance. My concern is the opposition. Missing players is a secondary concern."

Read the whole story at Press Association »

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