Óscar Cardozo felt his chance of scoring had passed after missing "incredible opportunities" before hitting SL Benfica's 87th-minute winner against Celtic FC.
The €9m summer signing from CA Newell's Old Boys had already seen two efforts come back off the woodwork before he controlled Angel Di María's lofted pass to score the only goal of the game – his first in the UEFA Champions League – and earn Benfica their first points in Group D. "I thought that I would not score tonight after the incredible opportunities I missed earlier in the match," Cardozo admitted. "It was a very important goal. I have been pursuing it for a long time."
The Paraguayan striker praised Benfica's heroic work-rate after the game, admitting that he was "down on my knees by the end" and also thanked Di María for an "excellent pass". José Antonio Camacho had brought the 19-year-old Argentinian on as a substitute and the forward was pleased to have played his part in the victory. "Cardozo asked me for the ball and I tried to put it where he wanted it," said Di María. "Thank God it was a good pass and he was able to score."
Benfica beat Celtic 3-0 in the corresponding fixture in last season's UEFA Champions League but the Scottish champions gave a much more resolute performance this time round. Cardozo said: "Celtic defended well and played very strongly at the back but today we deserved the three points." Celtic winger Aiden McGeady agreed. "We came away, defended so well and had chances to win the game, but with one half chance they scored. Credit to them, they had a few more chances and probably deserved to win."
Goalkeeper Artur Boruc felt that in the end Benfica just wore his side down, forcing them to concede late on. "When you get tired, mistakes like that just happen," he reflected. "You cannot just blame the defence because we defended well as a team for most of the game." Celtic have now gone 17 away games without a win in European competition. Boruc said: "All records end sometime and so will this one. Nobody knows when, but hopefully it'll be in the last game against [AC] Milan."
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.