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Jesus: 'Better' Benfica Deserved EL Final
Football Italia, May 2nd, 2014 2:23PM

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TAGS:  europa league, italy, portugal

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Benfica qualified for its second-successive Europa League final on Thursday, frustrating Serie A leader Juventus in a 0-0 draw that was good enough to progress to the final on May 14 thanks to its 2-1 win in Lisbon last week. After the game, coach Jorge Jesus praised his players, whom he said, “reached the Europa League final because we played better than Juventus in both legs.”

The Portuguese coach added: Juve are a good team, but defensively Benfica played very well. We had the advantage from the first leg and controlled all their movements in the second leg. We deserved to reach the Final because we were better than Juve.”

In particular, Jesus hailed his team’s defending, which had to be water-tight after Enzo Perez was sent off in the 67th-minute. Later, Nicolas Garay had to be stretchered off in stoppage time, leaving Benfica with nine men on the field. “I thought it wasn’t easy to make up for these situations with Juve attacking, but we knew that we had to stay calm and our players maintained their heads,” he said. “I think Benfica gave a masterclass on how to defend and it’s not easy with nine men on the field against [Pablo] Osvaldo, [Carlos] Tevez and [Fernando] Llorente.”

When asked if he thought there was a clear handball on Llorente’s header, Jesus replied: “I don’t think it was a penalty. In Lisbon they complained about the referee there too.”

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