Samaris and Mitroglou

Benfica kept their title bid on track with an entertaining 3-1 victory over Chaves at the Estádio da Luz on Friday night. Kostas Mitroglou opened the scoring with a well-placed header from a Nélson Semedo cross, but the visitors equalised shortly before the interval thanks to a delightful long-range curler from Belarusian midfielder Bressan.

The Eagles retook the lead in the 50th minute, when Rafa Silva tapped home from Semedo's centre. After a string of missed opportunities, Mitroglou sealed the points in the dying moments, smashing the ball past António Filipe to send the home fans into raptures.

Despite the final scoreline, a spirited Chaves played their part in a thrilling encounter, as Rui Vitória acknowledged in his post-match interview.

"It was an interesting game, very well played, against a Chaves (side) that scrapped very well and complicated our task. They are a very well-crafted team and they knew what they had to do. We were always on top... Chaves (were) more defensive but they did attack with discretion. They managed to equalise on the stroke of half-time."

"In the second half, we knew that we had to start strongly and score as quickly as possible. We managed, and afterwards we had several opportunities to score the third. When we didn't, Chaves believed (more) and the game opened up."

"We scored (three) against a team that had never suffered three goals [this season]. We won and our work is done."

The Benfica boss made an early substitution in the second half, replacing Eduardo Salvio with the fit-again Jonas. After the game, the 46-year old revealed that it was a purely tactical switch.

'It was fundamental to increase the intensity... we changed one piece of the eleven to make a more fluid connection in the game, to be more sharp and offensive. The goal was a consequence of this. We should have scored more but we couldn't finish. It was a very interesting game and it ended with a deserved victory."

There were 53,810 spectators in attendance to witness Benfica's 18th league win of the 2016/17 season, and Vitória was quick to thank them for their vocal support.

"To play at the Estádio da Luz is genuinely different... it is something that gives us great pleasure. It is a privilege to have more than 50,000 people present and very active on a Friday night. It helps us... the players sense it and feel that it is always possible to win."

Andreas Samaris - who started the match in place of the injured Ljubomir Fejsa - also highlighted the role of the Benfiquistas in the team's latest victory. 

"I want to praise the atmosphere in the stadium... on a Friday night, not all teams have more than 50,000 fans supporting them. I want to thank our supporters. Thank you!"

"It was a good victory, very well achieved on our part. We played a good game, above all in the second half. This is our work, to always play to win, game by game."

"We look at all of the games as finals, and there are eleven 'finals' remaining to achieve our objective of winning the championship."

Samaris played an incisive pass to release Nélson Semedo in the build-up to Benfica's second goal, but the Greek midfielder was modest when questioned about his contribution to the move.

"It was a well-worked move by our team... we work on this in training. Today it was Samaris, (but) tomorrow it will be another, and after that another."

Kostas Mitroglou's brace took the Greek international's tally to 22 goals for the season. The in-form striker has netted 13 times in his last 11 appearances, and he received the man-of-the-match award for his efforts on Friday. The 28-year old admitted that he is really loving life in Lisbon.

"I'm very happy with the victory and very happy with the prize. I like to score goals (and) I like to win. We are a great team, strong in every area, and we work together for the victories."

"The supporters are special... they help us to win. It is very special to play here."



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