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Rui Costa: Benfica a force once more

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 12 Apr 2013

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Benfica football director Rui Costa says the club is a rising force in Europe once again.

The Portuguese club knocked out Newcastle in the quarter-finals of the Europea League 4-2 on aggregate and have been drawn against 18-time Turkish league winners Fenerbahce in the semi-finals.

It is the second time in three years Benfica have reached the semi-finals of the tournament, after they were knocked out by fellow Portuguese outfit Braga in the 2010/11 edition.

Former Fiorentina and Milan midfielder Rui Costa knows it will not be an easy task against the Turkish club but remains confident ahead of the clash.

“It’s the second semi-final in three years. Benfica is rising and improving. We are happy to be here but we want to go further. The goal is to reach the final,” the 41-year-old told reporters.

“The most important thing was to be in the draw. Either opponent is of high quality, Fenerbahce eliminated Lazio. We want to continue our journey, with the ambition to reach the final and represent Portugal in a European final. It will not be easy but we are optimistic.”

The first leg will be played in Turkey on April 25 before the fate of the two clubs will be decided on May 2 at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

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