Benfica claimed a famous 1-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday evening, thanks to a combination of hard work, luck, and a sensational goalkeeping performance from Ederson. After the final whistle, Rui Vitória and his players shared their thoughts in front of the BTV cameras.
Vitória commended his players for their commitment, but conceded that their passing would have to improve in the second leg in three weeks’ time.
“We knew we had to be able to perform under pressure and we were tireless… our workrate was phenomenal. This was a delightful result against a really good side with good quality players that showed remarkable intensity during the match, and that will cause difficulties to any team that faces them. We were able to score from a set-piece that we usually practice, and we had a pristine performance from Ederson in goal.”
“Borussia Dortmund are a really good attacking team but this also causes them to expose their defence considerably."
"We had difficulties with our first passes. If we are able to improve this we should put their defensive line to the test."
"It's now time to savour this important victory and to start preparing for the next league match.”
Ederson was undoubtedly the star of the show, but was typically modest in appraising his own contribution to the game.
“Just as I had anticipated in the pre-match interview, it was a really tough game. Borussia are a quality side and the result was uncertain up to the end, with lots of chances. We were able to make the most of our chances and I was fortunate enough to help out. We were strong and had to deepen our defensive lines, but we showed that we had come prepared."
"I don't get complacent, I try to keep calm and I don't get overwhelmed.”
When asked about his strategy when facing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty, Ederson replied: ”You need to be focused, keep your cool, and study your opponent.”
It has since been revealed that protecting the centre of his goal was a premeditated tactic, conceived together with Benfica’s goalkeeping coach Luís Esteves, based on the Gabonese striker’s previous tendency to strike his penalties down the middle.
Benfica were outnumbered in midfield for much of the night, so Pizzi did not enjoy his usual influence on proceedings from the middle of the park. Nonetheless, the 27-year old admitted that keeping a clean sheet had massively improved his team’s chances of progression.
“We knew the most important thing was to try not to concede any goals because Dortmund are a great team. We knew how to suffer and grind out the result, so we will go to Germany with a lead and no goals conceded."
"Ederson put on an incredible performance, not to mention the effort of the team as a whole."
"We know of the difficulties that lie ahead, especially given the atmosphere at Dortmund’s stadium, but now is the time to celebrate this result.”
It was a particularly significant night for Filipe Augusto, who was making just his third appearance for his new club, and his first in Europe’s premier club competition. The Brazilian midfielder revealed his pride and outlined his aims for the future:
“This is the sort of game that every player dreams of playing in. I’m very happy about my Champions League debut and the team’s victory, a very important victory towards our ultimate objective. We played against a side with great players who are more accustomed to these types of big games, but we proved that we have a chance to progress."
"What are my hopes? They are the same as any Benfiquista: to play good games, to win, and to win titles.”