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Defender Sylvain Armand told UEFA.com that Paris Saint-Germain FC never felt in jeopardy of being knocked out despite a tense second-leg tie with FC BATE Borisov in the French capital.
Péguy Luyindula's late leveller in the 2-2 draw in Minsk finally proved the difference between the two sides as they produced a goalless second leg to edge into the round of 16 on away goals. Despite scoring opportunities being created and spurned by both teams, Armand insisted he was confident PSG's 150th game in UEFA club competition would have a happy ending.
"They could have scored from a small mistake that we made, but we were never in too much trouble," said the 30-year-old. "I think we had many more chances than they did to get on the scoresheet, even if we came up against a side that played well, and produced some good stuff. If we'd have been afraid it would have been difficult. That's what we had to avoid.
We had to play the match to win, and that's what we did."
After seeing Luyindula, Mathieu Bodmer and Jean-Eudes Maurice all pass up scoring chances, however, the PSG fans in the Parc des Princes were sitting somewhat uncomfortably as BATE threatened to thwart their ambitions. Wasteful finishing from Aleksandr Volodko let the hosts off the hook in the first half, and only an instinctive save from goalkeeper Apoula Édel, who stuck out a leg to divert Renan Bressan's close-range attempt with a little over 20 minutes left, denied the Belarusian champions what could have been a decisive goal.
"You're always afraid when it's 0-0," added Luyindula. "
We knew that at 0-0 we were through, and at 0-1 we would have been out. So there's always that little bit of pressure, that stress of conceding a goal towards the end of the game. But Édel had a great game, and saved us at that moment."
The hard-earned qualification sets up a tie with SL Benfica – the club PSG met at the same stage of the UEFA Cup during the 2006/07 campaign – after they knocked out VfB Stuttgart in impressive style. Their previous encounter ended in a 4-3 aggregate win for the Portuguese heavyweights, and Armand expects a similarly tight encounter this time round.
"It's not going to be easy. It's going to be a real European game. It's going to be two great matches in two great stadiums whether it be here or over there. We're going to enjoy it," said the versatile defender, who featured in PSG's 2-1 first-leg win in Paris but not their 3-1 second-leg reverse at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in the Portuguese capital. "We're happy to continue the adventure, and go to a stadium like that."
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