Fábio Coentrão hailed his outstanding contribution as "the best feeling" after SL Benfica pulled themselves back into UEFA Champions League Group B contention with a thrilling 4-3 home victory over Olympique Lyonnais.
The flying full-back was named UEFA.com's Player Rater Man of the Match after a display capped by a stunning goal in each half, which enabled Jorge Jesus's men to storm into a 4-0 lead. Last year's semi-finalists fought back with three late goals of their own, however, making Coentrão's earlier heroics even more important.
"When you score and the team win, it's the best feeling," he told UEFA.com. With regular winger Nicolás Gaitán suspended after his red card at the Stade Gerland a fortnight before, the 22-year-old was required to provide more attacking impetus on the left – and he did not disappoint.
I've been working pretty hard to keep my form at a good level, and with these goals I'm doing that," the Portuguese international said. "It's a sign of our hard work. It shows that I'm managing to do good things in my career and it makes me proud."
The deflation in the Lyon camp was clear despite the impressive late rally by Claude Puel's team. Yoann Gourcuff felt an early opportunity to qualify for the knockout rounds for an eighth successive season had been lost. "We came here feeling Benfica were perhaps under more pressure than us because we'd already won three out of three, had nine points and needed just a draw to qualify," the playmaker said.
Gourcuff lamented the fact Lyon had let the game drift away from them. "We had some pressure but didn't manage to control the match well," the 24-year-old said. "They played with a lot of motivation. We were a bit too passive in the first half and didn't make the goalkeeper work."
The €21m summer signing from FC Girondins de Bordeaux was proud of his side's belated reaction, even if it was in vain. "It's good that we came back as we did," he said, "because at 4-0 it was very hard. To lose 4-3 is just as disappointing because we came to enjoy this game and we didn't at all."
Gourcuff insisted some basic mistakes had to be eradicated before the Matchday 5 trip to FC Schalke 04. "
Every time Benfica had a free-kick it was dangerous for us," said the French international. "Matches at the highest level are often decided on these things, so we have to sort out the problem. But it's not only the defence – the whole team defended badly."
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