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Bullish Matić targeting Benfica glory

After being pushed all the way by Bayer 04 Leverkusen, SL Benfica's Nemanja Matić and Artur were in confident mood, asserting the belief that the Eagles can lift the trophy.

Bullish Matić targeting Benfica glory
Bullish Matić targeting Benfica glory ©UEFA.com

After the rain in Lisbon came the storm, as Bayer 04 Leverkusen pushed hosts SL Benfica every step of the way before bowing out of the UEFA Europa League.

Winning goalscorer Nemanja Matić bullishly looked forward to a run that will now see the Portuguese side play seven games in 22 days, including the last-16 tie against FC Girondins de Bordeaux, while goalkeeper Artur said the squad "believe in our ability" to maintain their form. Leverkusen's standout player André Schürrle lamented the timing of Matić's goal, so soon after his own equaliser, while team-mate Daniel Carvajal spoke of the bad luck which proved crucial over the two legs.

Nemanja Matić, Benfica midfielder
Bayer Leverkusen are a very good team and it was very hard. Bordeaux? It will be tough, but for now we are thinking about the next [Liga] game against Paços de Ferreira. Playing so many matches is OK. We are playing for Benfica and we need to be ready for anything. I am happy because of the goal, it helped the team to win and that is the most important thing

Artur, Benfica goalkeeper
I think they gave us a good game, as they knew they were coming to Lisbon in an all-or-nothing situation. We managed to make the most of the opportunities that we had and score the goals that decided the tie. I am happy to help the team. In my work here I have always done my best to help and to bring happiness to our fans again, who have backed us in an incredible way. I think Bordeaux will be another difficult opponent. They have quality, but we believe in our ability and what we can do.

André Schürrle, Leverkusen forward
It is hard to take. I think we had a good 90 minutes. We had many chances. We could have scored two or three goals here and gone through to the next round. At half-time we were told to keep going. We were in the game and we were the better team, but their first goal was very good and was hard to come back from. We got to 1-1, but the second goal from Benfica was so soon after ours that it was over then. Artur is a very good keeper. I could have scored two or three goals if it were not for him.

Daniel Carvajal, Leverkusen defender
It had been a fairly even game and in the first half-hour we had two or three clear chances to put ourselves in front, but Benfica made the most of what they had. We can say that in the first game in Germany and today we had bad luck. In the sixth or seventh minute, Stefan Kiessling had one that hit the post but did not go in. We came here after a negative result in the first leg but with the ability to win. We deserved more, but we will say congratulations to Benfica and we will carry on in the Bundesliga.

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