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SL Benfica midfielder Javi García hailed his side for keeping their composure at PSV Eindhoven and completing a quarter-final victory in the UEFA Europa League.
After seeing their three-goal first-leg cushion reduced to one inside 25 exciting minutes in the Netherlands, the Portuguese club had to rebuild their lead to take up a semi-final berth.
"We knew it would be difficult as PSV are strong at home," said the 24-year-old. "We conceded two early goals through our own mistakes.
We remained calm because we knew that was the key to staying in the competition. In the second half we came back strongly and in the end we were safe."
Trailing 4-1 from last week's game in Lisbon, PSV recovered from their initial lethargy to haul themselves to within a goal of the visitors thanks to efforts from Balázs Dzsudzsák and Jeremain Lens. The Eredivisie team duly took control of an absorbing contest – which made it all the more galling when they ended up conceding the night's next goal, right on half-time.
It was a crazy first half, but at 2-0 we were doing fine until their first goal, which was very painful," said PSV midfielder Stijn Wuytens. "We tried to put them under pressure so they couldn't play their game, and sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn't. At half-time we still believed we had a chance – we'd scored twice in one half already so why shouldn't we be able to do it again? But after their second [from Óscar Cardozo] we knew it was game over."
The scorer of Benfica's crucial 45th-minute opener, Brazil defender Luisão, was not getting carried away – despite having paved the way for the first UEFA club tie between two Portuguese sides. "Reaching the semi-finals is a great achievement for me and the club, but we're definitely not thinking about it just yet," said the Eagles captain. "We are only thinking about Sunday's league game against Beira-Mar."
However, the centre-back did accept that the looming double-header against SC Braga – 12 points and one place behind Benfica in the Liga – would not be easy. "
Braga will be the biggest challenge so far in the Europa League because both teams know each other so well. We will have to be at our very best."
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