SL Benfica may have scored two away goals in the first leg of their play-off tie against FC Twente, but they look unlikely to settle for the clean sheet that would see them through in Lisbon on Wednesday night.
Behind and then ahead in Enschede last week, Benfica eventually had to settle for a 2-2 draw to take back to Portugal. Both teams were in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage but with only one able to take their place in Thursday's draw in Monaco, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus is keen for his side to take the initiative.
"The 2-2 result in the Netherlands does not count," he said. "We may have the advantage of playing at home in front of our supporters, and because we drew over there, but there are no favourites. Our mind is always focused on winning and we only play attacking football.
It will be a very well-balanced match between two good teams. Twente have great players and are great going forward, but we want to reach the group phase with a win."
Midfielder Bruno César, a scorer in the 3-1 Portuguese Liga win against Feirense at the weekend, is equally reluctant to get carried away. "We know Twente are a very strong team and the first leg was a very difficult match," he said. "Both sides have quality and are always searching for a goal, but it is very important for us to qualify."
Jorge Jesus' charges are wise to be wary of a Twente side high on morale after a 5-1 victory at sc Heerenveen on Saturday, a performance Co Adriaanse labelled "our best match so far; everything went right". The win, earning sole possession of top spot in the nascent Eredivisie standings, helped soothe frustrations after Nikolay Mihaylov was ruled out with a neck injury, joining attacker Nacer Chadli on the sidelines.
The Bulgaria goalkeeper is expected to return in Lisbon, and defender Douglas says he is likely to play a crucial role. "It will be difficult, but I believe in our chances," he said. "
It's important we don't concede. If we succeed in that then we have a good chance of qualifying. I have a lot of faith in our attack. I'm sure they will score in Lisbon."
That confidence is well grounded, fortified by last season's European success: a repeat of two years ago, when an away-goals defeat by Sporting Clube de Portugal halted progress, is not being entertained. "Our experiences in the Champions League group stage, and then in the Europa League [reaching the quarter-finals] have made us stronger," Douglas concluded. "Now we know what is required."
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