SL Benfica welcome Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday with their UEFA Champions League hopes still alive.
As the penultimate set of Group C fixtures entered the last minute, Benfica were heading out as they were being held 2-2 at RSC Anderlecht and Olympiacos FC were level 1-1 in Paris. But Rodrigo struck to give Benfica victory and Edinson Cavani restored a lead for ten-man PSG that they had only lost in the 80th minute.
Although Benfica still trail second-placed Olympiacos on head-to-head record, they will be through on Tuesday if they pick up more points against group winners Paris than the Greek champions manage at home to eliminated Anderlecht. Benfica goalkeeper Artur speaks to UEFA.com about their day of destiny.
UEFA.com: What was the importance of the dramatic win at Anderlecht?
Artur: That victory shows what our team is like – the quality we have and our strength, as a team but also mentally. We all have the belief that we will fight until the end to go through. Now we have Paris Saint-Germain at home, where we have to do our best, win the match and then whatever happens between Olympiacos and Anderlecht ... we will know if we have qualified or not.
UEFA.com: Paris are through – is it a good time to play them?
Artur: I think it is always difficult to play against PSG because they're a great team, they have a great squad and they play every match to win. But we will be playing at home in front of our fans, and if we want to be in the next round we need to win, no matter how.
UEFA.com: Paris are a very attacking team who score a lot of goals – how do you prepare for that as a goalkeeper?
Artur: Matches in the UEFA Champions League are always matches against players of high quality. They are the champions and the best-qualified clubs from their countries, and that means you are playing against the best in the world. You have to always be focused during the match, you have to be focused during training and know the characteristics of each player, so that when you have to react to the things a player does, you will always be ready.
UEFA.com: What will the atmosphere be like?
Artur: I think it will be a very 'hot' atmosphere. Our fans will certainly come in large numbers. I believe it will be sold out, because we are going well in the Portuguese league, and now in the Champions League we need the support of our fans. With them we can advance to the next round.
UEFA.com: Is the final being in your stadium giving you extra motivation?
Artur: We always give 200%, regardless of where the final is held. Of course, because of it being at our home we all have that dream, but we know that it's very difficult. To reach it we need to be practically perfect, and that starts on Tuesday. But unfortunately the result in the group doesn't only depend on us. What we need to do is give our best on Tuesday, do everything to win the match, and if everything goes well go through to the next round.
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