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Jesus revels in Benfica triumph

Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus has claimed his side were always confident they would overcome Fenerbahce to reach the Europa League final.

A brace from Oscar Cardozo secured a 3-1 win at Estadio da Luz on Thursday, sending Benfica into their first European final in 23 years with a 3-2 aggregate scoreline.

Jesus believes his side deserve their place in the final in Amsterdam against Chelsea following their form in the Europa League this season, describing Fenerbahce as far from their toughest opponents.

Fenerbahce hit the woodwork three times in last week’s first leg in Istanbul but had to settle for a 1-0 victory, which arguably cost them over 180 minutes, however, Jesus argued Newcastle and Bayer Leverkusen were better than the Turkish Super Lig side.

“To be in the final is historic, we deserved to win, we’ve had a fantastic Europa League,” Jesus said after the match.

“We knew after the first leg we had more of a team than Fenerbahce.

“We were convinced we could eliminate them.

“They’re a team that did not create us many problems.

“Newcastle and Bayer Leverkusen (opponents in the earlier rounds) are stronger than this team.”

Benfica needed just eight minutes to level the two-legged tie on Thursday when Nicolas Gaitan scored but a 23rd-minute penalty from Dirk Kuyt meant the Portuguese hosts needed to score two more goals.

Cardozo notched the first of those 10 minutes before half-time.

Jesus claimed he had reminded his players to be patient at the break and that patience paid off in the 66th minute when Cardozo struck again.

“We had very strong momentum,” Jesus said.

“Our opponents cannot have many arguments.

“We were a better team.

“At half-time I told the players to relax, that we would score goals.”

Fri 3 May, 2013
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