5 things to know about Champions League Group C

BY foxsports • October 1, 2013

Paris Saint-Germain has made an unbeaten, yet unspectacular start to the season, and the visit of Benfica is unlikely to threaten that run. But Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs to get back in the goals, having managed only a meager two in 10 games, and his highly anticipated partnership with Edinson Cavani has yet to click. Here are five things to know about the second matchday in Group C:


ANGRY MEN: Two of the most volatile characters in football will be on opposite sides at Parc des Princes: Ibrahimovic and Benfica coach Jorge Jesus.

Ibrahimovic exploded with rage during Saturday's home win against Toulouse after Abel Aguilar shoved him in the back. First, he squared up to the Colombian, shoving him firmly in the chest, and had to be held back by teammates from a further confrontation. Then, as he left the field to be substituted, Ibrahimovic yelled at the Toulouse bench and made a pistol shape with his fingers, an aggressive gesture that appeared to be aimed at Toulouse substitute Jonathan Zebina. They had a punch-up in training at Juventus seven years ago.

Jesus will be on the visitor's bench in Paris while he awaits the outcome of investigations into his conduct by Portuguese magistrates and the country's football federation.

His long white hair flowing, Jesus sprinted onto the pitch and ran to the aid of a fan who was being manhandled by police after the win away to Guimaraes on Sept. 22.

He angrily remonstrated with the police and then attempted to free the fan from the grip of policemen detaining him. Judicial authorities are weighing whether Jesus broke the law on interfering with police, and the federation's disciplinary committee is assessing whether he is guilty of improper sporting conduct. He could be given a lengthy pitch suspension and even jail time, though a fine is more likely if a court finds him guilty.


ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: PSG have spent hundreds of millions to acquire some of the best attacking players in the world.

Yet it's hard to believe when you watch them play.

Given that PSG boasts Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani - the fifth most expensive player ever - Brazilian winger Lucas, Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore and flying winger Ezequiel Lavezzi, fans understandably expect a free-flowing attacking bonanza.

Far from it.

Saturday's laborious 2-0 home win against Toulouse was only mildly better than the scrappy 1-0 midweek win at Valenciennes. Other results include tepid 1-1 draws against Ajaccio and Montpellier.

''We have room for improvement in terms of our level of play,'' goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu said.

Ibrahimovic, who scored a league-leading 30 goals last season, sees things differently.

''It's difficult to be at 100 percent when you're playing every three days,'' he said.


FULL STRENGTH, LOW CONFIDENCE: Benfica beat Anderlecht 2-0 in its competition opener and is at full strength for the trip to Paris, but the Portuguese club has been inconsistent this season and struggling for confidence.

It is fifth in the Portuguese league, five points behind league leader and rival Porto, after only six rounds. The 1-1 home draw last weekend against bottom club Belenenses will not have boosted morale much.

However, one encouraging sign is the return to form of Paraguay striker Oscar Cardozo, who has scored in his past two league games to take his tally to 107 league goals in 164 games for Benfica.


OLYMPIAKOS IN FORM: Olympiakos' only defeat this season was the 4-1 home reverse to Paris Saint-Germain in their opening match, and they will be keen to make up for it away to Anderlecht.

Much-traveled striker Javier Saviola scored one and set up the other for Vladimir Weiss in Saturday's 2-0 win at Panionios.

''We know we can't lose there,'' Weiss said. ''We just have to play our football. We are used to winning in the (Greek) league and we have to take that confidence into the Champions League.''

Coached by former Spain and Real Madrid midfielder Michel, Olympiakos has won six and drawn one of its other matches this season and has 20 goals in eight games overall.


GOOD ATTACK, LEAKY DEFENSE: Anderlecht's inconsistency this season means the 32-time Belgian champion has won eight and lost four matches overall.

The defense is much to blame for this.

While the attack is functioning well, with 36 goals so far, the defense has twice conceded four goals, in league games against Club Brugge and Zulte-Waregem.

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