Benfica

Benfica got back to winning ways in the Liga NOS on Sunday evening, delivering an authoritative display to beat Nacional 3-0 at the Estádio da Luz. Fans' favourite Jonas managed to get his name on the scoresheet twice in the first half, while Kostas Mitroglou added a late third. The Brazilian was awarded the man-of-the-match prize, much to his satisfaction.

"I missed receiving this award. I am very happy with the victory... we played with intensity and organisation."

Jonas' first goal was a header from a pinpoint Andrija Živković cross, and his second was a left-footed screamer from outside the box. Nonetheless, the forward feels that he has scored better goals in the Liga NOS.

"I'm not sure if it was one of my best goals. I took the chance and shot from distance, and ended up being lucky enough to score and to help the team."

When asked why he pointed to the Benfica emblem on his jersey after netting the first goal, the 32-year old explained:

"Benfica means everything to us, and we are truly honoured to play for such a great club. We are really happy to be part of the Benfiquista family."

After an injury-hit start to the season, Jonas is now returning to his best form. He has scored eight goals in nine games in 2017, and is pleased with his recent progress.

"I'm looking to get into the best physical shape for every match. I managed to score twice and this is a boost for my confidence levels. I feel at home here."

With head coach Rui Vitória serving the second of his three-match touchline ban, it was his assistant, Arnaldo Teixeira, that analysed the team's display after the match.

"This win was completely deserved. We tried to keep a quick tempo and play both through the middle and in the wider areas of the pitch. In the end, we achieved the result that we wanted."

After Porto beat Sporting on Saturday to take a temporary lead in the Portuguese title race, Porto coach Nuno Espírito Santo declared: "Benfica are not accustomed to being behind and playing afterwards, but we will see how they react." When asked whether Benfica's performance had been the perfect reply to Espírito Santo's comments, Teixeira responded:

"We play for our family, for the Benfiquista family, and not against anyone in particular."

53-year old Teixeira - who was Vitória's assistant at Vitória de Guimarães and Paços de Ferreira - also praised the vocal support from the 48,638 fans in the stands: "The team and the supporters are together and united. We are all working to achieve the same goal."

Nélson Semedo produced another swashbuckling display at right-back, setting up Jonas for his second goal of the night. After the final whistle, he too paid tribute to the passionate backing of the Benfiquistas in attendance.

"The game could have been complicated, but we made it easy and it ended up being completely controlled. We did very well in the game in front of our fans that always supported us."

"We achieved another vitally important victory for (reaching) our objectives. Thanks for the support that the fans gave us in the game with Nacional, and (I hope) they come (for the match) with Arouca to help us (again)."

With Sunday's victory, the Reds retook first position in the Liga NOS, maintaining their narrow one point advantage over arch rivals FC Porto. Their league campaign continues at the Estádio da Luz on Friday night, with the Eagles hosting tenth-placed Arouca.

Category: