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Zenit upbeat, Benfica downcast

"We had to win and we did," said Danny after reviving FC Zenit's knockout chances at the expense of SL Benfica, who Jorge Jesus admitted had missed their opportunity.

2014 highlights: Danny's winner for Zenit against Benfica

Danny's late goal settles tight contest in St Petersburg
Portuguese forward says, "We had to win and we did"
André Villas-Boas: "We resisted them and took our chance"
Jorge Jesus: "If you don't take your chances, fate punishes you"
Next games: Monaco v Zenit, Benfica v Leverkusen (9 December)

Danny, Zenit forward
We started very well. In the first half we were in control and had lots of chances to score. Benfica started the second half very well as they went for the win, but we managed to get back into the game and win.

The most trouble we had was in playing against a very difficult team, who play good football and also know how to defend. But we were at home and had to win – we did and we have to be congratulated.

[The goal] was a combination play that we do many times in matches, with Hulk finding space. Sometimes he shoots at goal, sometimes he passes the ball; this time he did that and I scored.

Yuri Lodygin, Zenit goalkeeper
Every minute was tough and intense. In the end we sat back, but that was logical. I don't think there were any extremely difficult moments in the match; maybe when I had to come out and save [from Eduardo Salvio].

The game was very intense today. In the first half we had more possession, but we couldn't create many chances in front of goal. But we believed in the win and scored a great goal.

André Villas-Boas, Zenit coach
It was a very important victory. In the first half we had more possession; in the second half there was 15 minutes when Benfica were camped in our half, but then we took the game under control. The match looked like it would be settled by one goal, which is what happened.

It's not a question of the two coaches. It's a question of talented players, their training, the balance of the team. Tonight Benfica played more on the counterattack and we successfully resisted them, before taking our chance.

Jorge Jesus, Benfica coach
The game turned out to be fairly even with both teams at a high level. Both could have won. In the first half, Benfica and Zenit both had chances; in the second we played better. There were chances for Salvio and Luisão, but Zenit were able to take theirs – they're a team who can score at any moment.

Of course, our intention was to get out of the group – all four sides are of roughly the same level, so we all had chances. But this target will not be achieved and, depending on the outcome of the remaining games, we'll see what awaits us. Today what happened, happened.

In the first 15 minutes of the second half my team showed class and speed, we pressed Zenit back into their half. We had at least two chances to score, but unfortunately didn't take them, that's the problem. In even games between teams of the same standing, you need to capitalise on your chances. If not, then the fate punishes you.

Eduardo Salvio, Benfica forward
We tried to give a performance and we did that. We created the better opportunities throughout, but football is like this. We are very disappointed, because it was our goal to continue in the Champions League, but now the only thing to do is to lift our heads and keep working.

In the Champions League you can't afford to make any mistakes or you will be punished, and Zenit did just that in the second half. They had one chance and made the most of it.

Andreas Samaris, Benfica midfielder
We started a bit nervously, but as we [settled] on the field we started to get better. We deserved a goal for what we did early in the second half, but we didn't score and, in football, when you don't take your chances usually the opponents will. That's football; now we have to push hard against Leverkusen and hope we can continue in Europe.