SL Benfica did not have it easy against Paris Saint-Germain FC but an inspired last 20 minutes ensured the Portuguese side of a 2-1 advantage in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie.
Péguy Luyindula opened the scoring for PSG, before Benfica equalised through Maxi Pereira close to half-time and then edged ahead late on thanks to substitute Franco Jara. Plain sailing it may not have been yet for home forward Javier Saviola the result was all that mattered.
"At this stage we always expect strong opponents and it was a difficult match for us, but the most important thing is that we won," he said. "
Everything is still to play for because both teams are very even. It was difficult to score and PSG must take credit. Now we will look to score in France because we are a team always searching for goals. The worst thing we could do would be to wait and let things happen."
Although Benfica keeper Roberto was beaten after just 14 minutes, he was pleased with how he and his team-mates regrouped. "In the first few minutes they had some chances, but we talked with each other and we solved the problems," the Eagles No1 said. "We were much better after our first goal. PSG were very strong but we won so we will be motivated in Paris. We can win there because that is our mentality. We will prepare for the match as if the tie was still 0-0."
For PSG midfielder Nenê, luck was not on the Ligue 1 team's side. "We could have had at least a draw because we had more chances," he said. "
We were a bit unlucky. If we had been better with the final ball we could have scored more, but we believe we can turn this result around.
"Players love to play in these amazing environments in front of supporters like these. There are lots of Portuguese people in Paris and there is a chance there will be more Benfica supporters than PSG. We are well aware of that and we are prepared."
Such sentiments were echoed by Nenê's team-mate and fellow Brazilian Ceará. "We are a bit sad, but if we look at what we did in the first half we think we can win the second leg," he added. "We knew it would be difficult because we knew Benfica always play well at home, but we are hopeful of progressing."
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