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Benfica youngsters do Rui Vitória proud

Rui Vitória said his young players came of age as depleted Benfica overcame Zenit to reach the quarter-finals, though he is only allowing the journey home for celebrations.

Highlights: See how Benfica made the quarter-finals
Highlights: See how Benfica made the quarter-finals
  • With tie heading for extra time, late goals from Nicolás Gaitán and Talisca earn Benfica win
  • Benfica keeper Ederson shines on his UEFA Champions League debut
  • André Villas-Boas's last European game at Zenit – he leaves at season's end
  • Portuguese Liga side have won 15 of their last 16 matches
  • Quarter-final draw at 12.00CET on 18 March in Nyon

Rui Vitória, Benfica coach
We have an amazing group of players who have been working really hard and they deserve all this. This victory is theirs, including the ones who stayed behind in Lisbon because of injury. I have only praise for my players!

It was a deserved win for a well-organised team who managed to keep their focus even after conceding a goal. We kept the faith and showed the mentality of champions to get the victory. 

Ederson proved that he deserves to be in the first team and I am pleased that I have youngsters ready to replace experienced players. Today the young players confirmed their quality. On the way home we will celebrate victory, but soon after landing we will start thinking about the next match.

Villas-Boas rues missed chances
Villas-Boas rues missed chances

André Villas-Boas, Zenit coach
We made mistakes but we also had our moments – unfortunately Benfica's goalkeeper played very well. There were two great teams out there, and the better one advanced to the quarter-finals.

We had the opportunity to progress and did not envisage losing. We deserved to reach the quarters based on our group performance alone. But in the first leg we conceded in the last minute, then today we missed so many chances.

After a two-month break it's hard to regain your match sharpness – it's a problem for all Russian teams. Unlike us, Benfica are in top condition and that helped them. A week later and we would be better prepared.

Stand-in centre-back Samaris's delight
Stand-in centre-back Samaris's delight