The official website for European football

Maxi Pereira looking to take Benfica all the way

Published: Wednesday 27 April 2011, 22.31CET
Uruguayan international Maxi Pereira knows all about missing out on the big occasion but is determined not to do so again as SL Benfica look to pip SC Braga to the UEFA Europa League final.
by Pedro Gonçalves
from Lisbon
Maxi Pereira looking to take Benfica all the way
Maxi Pereira skips past PSV's Wilfred Bouma in the quarter-finals ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

BenficaBraga

Goals scored15
 
6
Attempts on target48
 
31
Attempts off target54
 
34
Corners60
 
31
Offsides13
 
27
Fouls committed131
 
138
Yellow cards14
 
24
Red cards0
1

Media Services

Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 27 April 2011, 22.31CET

Maxi Pereira looking to take Benfica all the way

Uruguayan international Maxi Pereira knows all about missing out on the big occasion but is determined not to do so again as SL Benfica look to pip SC Braga to the UEFA Europa League final.

After suffering semi-final disappointment in Uruguay colours at the FIFA World Cup, Maxi Pereira is determined not to miss out again as SL Benfica take on SC Braga over two legs for a UEFA Europa League final place.

A Portuguese League Cup success against FC Paços de Ferreira at the weekend may not have made up for the loss to the Netherlands in Cape Town – Maxi Pereira's added-time goal not enough to prevent a 3-2 defeat – but glory in Dublin next month would certainly go a long way towards easing the pain.

"It was important to win the League Cup," said Maxi Pereira. "Finals are there to be won and it's given us confidence and relaxed us. We now have a chance to reach a [European] final after so long, and are well motivated and ready. After missing out on the World Cup final for Uruguay, I now hope to achieve the target."

The South American is part of a defence that has not kept a clean sheet since February, yet he remains confident that the Eagles will eclipse their domestic rivals. "The whole team is very calm and we don't think about the goals we've conceded," he said. "We have to play our own game and I believe that out of the four teams left in contention we're favourites to win the competition."

A bold statement, perhaps, although Maxi Pereira knows Braga cannot be taken lightly. "If they are here at this stage then they have to be strong," he continued. "They have a good defence and we'll have to play intelligently to open them up, but our goal is to win the Europa League; it would be fantastic for everyone."

Braga centre-back Paulão believes the tie is difficult to call – "There are no favourites" – and says the northern club are "focused only on getting a result" in Lisbon. "It's not the game of our lives but it's certainly an important match. Benfica are always a tough team who fights for titles and they'll also want to perform tomorrow."

Last updated: 29/04/11 16.10CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2011/matches/round=2000132/match=2007738/prematch/focus/index.html#maxi+pereira+wants+final

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE word, the UEFA Europa League logo and the UEFA Europa League trophy are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.