Vitória proud of battling Benfica

Rui Vitória

After watching Benfica fall to a narrow defeat in Munich on Tuesday night, Rui Vitória revealed his pride at his team's spirited performance: “We (played) at a very high level, very close to excellence, with much conviction. I’m a proud coach. To see this team (playing this way) would make anyone proud. We came (here) with huge personality, without changing our strategy, believing (in ourselves) and creating difficulties for Bayern.”

“We wanted to win (tonight), but we did a wonderful job. We didn't back down, and now we have an open tie. All that remains is to fight (for every) centimetre. Here we honoured what it is to be Benfica.”




Jonas: "The tie is still open"

Jonas

Benfica suffered a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night, in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final. Despite taking the lead in the second minute of the match, the Bavarians could not convert their superior possession into more goals, and Benfica had chances of their own at the other end of the pitch. The teams meet again in the second leg at the Estádio da Luz next Wednesday, and Benfica are still very much in the tie, according to Brazilian marksman Jonas.

"We suffered the early goal, but maintained (our) calm and organisation. We only lacked a goal. We had difficulties during the 90 minutes... Bayern like to control the game, (but) in the little time that we had the ball, we created opportunities. We could have left with a better result, but the tie is still open. At home, in front of our fans, we have the ability to score a goal, and, who knows, to get through this round."




Vitória ignores Guardiola's mind games

Rui Vitória faced the press at the Allianz Arena on Monday night, ahead of the biggest game of his coaching career. He addressed a number of topics, beginning with Pep Guardiola’s claims that Bayern are not favourites for the tie, and that Benfica possess “the best back four in Europe.” Guardiola has a history of making such disingenuous statements, but Vitória refused to be sucked in by the Spaniard’s mind games.

“We all know that teams have to be aware of what they do, and not what (others) say they do. He’s seen our virtues and defects. We will have a match against a powerful team, one of the best in the world. Whoever reaches this round has to have great ambition."




Pre-match press: Bayern Munich x Benfica

André Almeida and Kostas Mitroglou attended Monday evening's press conference at the Allianz Arena, ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.

Portuguese full-back André Almeida was the first to speak: "The whole team has been doing a great job, not only defensively, but also offensively. We are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Favouritism is relative because we have the same merit as Bayern. If we are here, it means we deserve it."




Squad list: Bayern Munich x Benfica

Rui Vitória has taken 21 players to Munich for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final with Bayern. Lisandro López returns to the squad at the expense of Sílvio. 19-year old goalkeeper André Ferreira will travel with the squad to gain experience, but is unlikely to make the 7-man substitutes’ bench. He has played only 5 games for Benfica B this season.

The game kicks off at 19:45 UK/Portuguese time, and will be officiated by Polish referee Szymon Marciniak.

Goalkeepers: Ederson, Paulo Lopes and André Ferreira.

Defenders: André Almeida, Nélson Semedo, Jardel, Lisandro, Lindelöf and Eliseu.

Midfielders: Pizzi, Carcela, Talisca, Salvio, Fejsa, Gonçalo Guedes, Renato Sanches, Samaris and Gaitán.

Forwards: Raúl, Jonas and Mitroglou.




Opinion: The lowdown on Bayern Munich

Bayern and Benfica clash at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night, with a place in the Champions League semi-finals at stake. Ahead of the game, we spoke to Michel Munger, editor-in-chief at Bayern Central, to get the latest on Benfica's illustrious opponents.




Champions League draw: Benfica face tough Bayern test

Benfica have been handed the unenviable task of beating Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League semi-finals, after today’s quarter-final draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.




Benfica await Champions League quarter-final draw

This season, Benfica have reached the last 8 of the Champions League for the first time since 2011/12. On that occasion, Jorge Jesus' side suffered a 3-1 aggregate defeat to eventual winners Chelsea. This year's quarter-final draw takes place on Friday at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The ceremony begins at 11:00 Portuguese time.




Vitória dedicates Zenit win to players, president and fans

Benfica are in the hat for the Champions League quarter-final draw after overcoming Zenit in Russia last night. Speaking after the game, a justifiably proud Rui Vitória paid tribute to everyone involved.

“I want to say that this was the victory of the players, of a fantastic group that have been working hard every day... (both) these (players) and those that remained in Lisbon. I also want to thank the president [Luís Filipe Vieira], who is the figure that maintains all of this stability, and our mass of fans - those that came here, those in Lisbon, and those spread throughout the world - for rooting for us. Thanks for all of this positive energy!”




Clinical Benfica advance to Champions League quarter-finals

Benfica booked their place in the last 8 of the UEFA Champions League with an impressive 2-1 victory over Zenit this evening. Rui Vitória’s men produced a composed and professional performance, completing a 3-1 aggregate win over André Villas-Boas' side.




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