SL Benfica centre-back David Luiz hailed "another great exhibition" after his side defeated Hertha BSC Berlin 4-0 in Lisbon, sealing their passage into the UEFA Europa League round of 16.
The Portuguese Liga leaders have been devastating on home soil in this year's competition, and with former club legend Eusébio and the UEFA president, Michel Platini, in attendance, they made it 17 goals from five outings with a performance sure to delight those erstwhile attacking maestros. Given a platform by Pablo Aimar's calm finish on 25 minutes, they took an unwavering stranglehold on proceedings in the second half, with influential winger Angel Di María setting up Paraguayan forward Óscar Cardozo for a pair of goals either side of an emphatic Javi García strike following a corner.
"It was a great game and another great exhibition" said David Luiz, whose team drew 1-1 in last Thursday's first leg and enjoyed the weekend off as they prepared for the decider. "We've worked hard every day and not only on how to score goals, because we knew that if we didn't concede today we'd go through to the next round. We looked to play our usual style and applied the things we worked on."
Not for the first time this season, the Eagles made their task look relatively straightforward, being threatened only by a first-half Raffael attempt that almost deceived goalkeeper Júlio César. "Things could have got complicated today," countered the 22-year-old. "We just managed to make things easier for ourselves. Scoring a goal fairly early on meant that it was easier for us after that, but what's certain is that there'll be no easy games from now on. We'll have to keep working hard and take it one step at a time."
The next step for the two-time European champions will be a round of 16 meeting with either FC København or Olympique de Marseille next month, another challenge they will be desperate to rise to. "The first priority for us is the championship, but Benfica go into every match with the aim of coming out on top," said their attack-minded Brazilian defender. "We're in this competition and we want to win it."
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