SL Benfica stood firm in the face of a tide of pressure from FC København as Kostas Katsouranis' first-half goal proved enough to secure a 3-1 aggregate victory for the Portuguese outfit, and a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Greece international Katsouranis struck after just 17 minutes at the Parken Stadium, firing in from close range after good build-up play from Rui Costa and Oscar Óscar to further extend Benfica's advantage following their 2-1 first-leg triumph. It left the home team with it all to do but having already had a shot cleared off the line they swept forward. Atiba Hutchinson, Marcus Allbäck, Brede Hangeland and Libor Sionko all went close while Niclas Jensen saw his free-kick come back off the upright but the visitors held on.
Having limited Benfica to a narrow win in Portugal a fortnight ago hopes were high in the Danish camp that they could ensure a swift return to the UEFA Champions League having made their group stage debut last term. Michael Gravgaard gave further cause for enthusiasm when he capped a bright opening by the home team when his effort forced a desperate goalline clearance on 12 minutes, but København soon found themselves further adrift as Katsouranis capitalised against the run of play. Ståle Solbakken's quickly regained their composure, however, and could easily have drawn level before the interval.
Jensen was denied by the post on the half-hour while goalkeeper Quim did well to save from Hutchinson soon after and Allbäck then headed just wide before the interval. Benfica earned some relief after the restart, with Jesper Christiansen called into action to keep out Nuno Assis' close-range header, yet København were soon back on the offensive. Hangeland headed just over and substitute Sionko fizzed a rasping drive past the post midway through the half though as time ebbed away. With it went home hopes as Benfica stood firm until the end.