Raul Jimenez described his relief at ending his wait for a Champions League goal with Benfica as the Portuguese champions drew 2-2 with Astana on Wednesday.
The Mexico international struck in each half to cancel out goals from Patrick Twumasi and Marin Anicic and keep Benfica top of Group C with just one match left to play.
Jimenez has struggled for consistent form since moving to Europe, initially with Atletico Madrid, but he says he was convinced he would recapture his goalscoring touch.
“I was eager to score but I was always calm and patient, knowing I could rely on my team-mates,” he told SporTV after the match.
“It was a good game for me but a difficult one for the team. We had to fight from start to finish, Astana showed why it’s not easy to play here.
“The goal before the break was important. There are some things to fix but we’ll continue to work.”
Renato Sanches made his competition debut in Kazakhstan and the 18-year-old was delighted to be given his opportunity.
“My dream has always been to play for Benfica. I’m very happy to enjoy this moment,” he said.
“We had more attitude in the first half than in the second. We conceded two goals but we reacted.”
Benfica will qualify for the last 16 if Atletico Madrid gain at least a draw against Galatasaray later on Wednesday.
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