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FC København know things are about to get tougher in UEFA Champions League qualifying after an extra-time goal at Beitar Jerusalem FC last night earned the Danish title-holders a meeting with SL Benfica.
"It's a great relief for us to still be in Europe," said Niclas Jensen, reflecting on Marcus Allbäck's equalising strike seven minutes into extra time in Israel which sent København through to the third and final qualifying round with a 2-1 aggregate victory. "Now we're certain of staying in European football for a while," added Jensen, in the knowledge that a loss to the Lisbon club would bring some relief in the form of a UEFA Cup spot. "We can look forward to two really exciting matches against Benfica. It's important for us as players to get to play in these type of games."
Midfielder Hjate Bo Nørregaard concurred, saying: "It is matches like those ones that you live for as a football player. It's always great fun measuring yourself against the greatest teams in Europe and now we have another chance to do that." København know all about Benfica, having drawn 0-0 and lost 3-1 away in their group stage meetings last season, and are braced for another testing 90 minutes in Lisbon next week. "Those games are going to be even harder than what we've just been through," said another midfielder, Michael Silberbauer. "We know Benfica from last year and know how difficult it is going to get."
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