SL Benfica defender Sidnei left Anfield lamenting Liverpool FC's superior scoring power after the Eagles' UEFA Europa League hopes disintegrated with a 4-1 defeat.
The Portuguese Liga leaders held a 2-1 advantage entering the second leg but after a confident start, fell behind on aggregate when Dirk Kuyt and Lucas struck before half-time. After Fernando Torres made it 3-0, Óscar Cardozo's 70th-minute free-kick revived the visitors' hopes and the Paraguayan then threatened with another dead ball and a header before Torres's second breakaway goal confirmed Benfica's exit.
"Tonight it was a very even match. It was a well-contested match, in which they made best use of the chances they had," said Sidnei, who spurned the visitors' best opening of the first half when flashing a close-range shot across the hosts' goal, which pinballed off two Liverpool players before landing wide. "We searched, we played the way we always play, with a lot of ball possession," he added.
It was a view shared by Benfica reserve goalkeeper Moreira, who replaced Júlio César two minutes before Torres's concluding goal after his colleague suffered a head injury which required an overnight stay for observation in a Liverpool hospital. "
The difference between the teams? I think Liverpool were better at the crucial goal moments. They made good use of two chances, and therefore they were able to win," he said.
"Liverpool deserve a lot of credit in defence," Moreira added. "They defended very well. We also managed to create some dangerous chances, but we weren't able to finish them. But while we were eliminated, I think we had a good campaign."
The defeat at Anfield was the Benfica's first in 28 matches and their fifth quarter-final loss in Europe since they last reached a UEFA competition semi-final in 1994. Sidnei believes their conquerors, Liverpool, have what it takes to go on and win the UEFA Europa League. "Definitely.
They have a great team which has everything they need to go on and reach the final, and even win the competition."
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