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Benfica lament not making most of fast start

Published: Thursday 3 November 2011, 0.57CET
SL Benfica pair Nicolás Gaitán and Artur rued their team's failure to capitalise on a fine start in the 1-1 draw against FC Basel 1893, whose forward Jacques Zoua says his side remain buoyant.
by Andy Brassell
from Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica
Benfica lament not making most of fast start
Benfica's Luís Martins (left) vies for possession with David Abraham ©Getty Images
 
 
 
Published: Thursday 3 November 2011, 0.57CET

Benfica lament not making most of fast start

SL Benfica pair Nicolás Gaitán and Artur rued their team's failure to capitalise on a fine start in the 1-1 draw against FC Basel 1893, whose forward Jacques Zoua says his side remain buoyant.

SL Benfica started the day with hopes of wrapping up qualification on matchday four. Even closing on the club record of 12 group stage points, set by Artur Jorge's side in 1994/95, was in their sights. However, Heiko Vogel's FC Basel 1893 team had other ideas. While the hosts' Nicolás Gaitán and Artur were left to bemoan the Eagles' inability to take more of their chances, the Swiss side's young forward Jacques Zoua said the away dressing room is full of renewed confidence.

We played very well in the first half and we should have gone into the break with one goal more
Nicolás Gaitán
We had a lot of the game and played with great intensity in the first 20 minutes
Artur
We slowly made our way into the match and managed to do some good things, and get plenty of possession
Jacques Zoua

Nicolás Gaitán, Benfica midfielder
[Rodrigo's opener] was a beautiful goal. I managed to give him a good pass, and he hit it well. We played very well in the first half and we should have gone into the break with one goal more. We had a lot of chances, but that happens sometimes in football. In the second half we slowed down a bit and, well, here we are. Benfica always go into a game trying their best to win. Today we were very close to doing it, and to qualifying, but we'll keep going in the same way.

Artur, Benfica goalkeeper
We had a lot of the game and played with great intensity in the first 20 minutes, but we didn't manage to go on and win. We couldn't keep it up and, because of that, a draw was a fair result. We thought 1-0 was good enough, but football can often teach you a lesson.

What we learned today is that a point is a point, and at least takes us closer to qualification. We are looking at [the next game against Manchester United] like any other Champions League game. It's a big game, we're going there to compete as equals, to give our best and to win.

Jacques Zoua, Baselforward
We weren't worried. We understood that we were in Portugal, on their patch. We slowly made our way into the match and managed to do some good things, and get plenty of possession. By the end we were pretty strong − we had done what we had to do. We learned a lot in the first game at our place. We lost 2-0, and they showed us exactly what they were capable of. They have a lot of offensive quality, so we made sure we prepared for that.

We have two big matches now, firstly against the Romanian team [FC Oţelul Galaţi], and we're going to prepare well because we have a really, really good chance of getting to the next round, and we're capable of doing it. If we continue to improve, work hard, remain focused and do our best in training and the domestic championship, we can get very good results in Romania and against Manchester United at our place.

Last updated: 03/11/11 12.15CET

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