Benfica boss Rui Vitoria: We were worthy victors

17 February 2016 03:23

Benfica coach Rui Vitoria feels his side deserved to win the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Zenit St Petersburg and is confident about their chances of scoring in the second leg in Russia.

The Portuguese giants claimed a 1-0 victory on home soil on Tuesday night but had to wait until the 90th minute to make the breakthrough with Jonas Oliveira heading home Nicolas Gaitan's free-kick.

The late goal was tough on battling Zenit, but Vitoria feels it was just reward for his "tactically perfect" side.

He said in quotes reported by " We were deserved winners against a good team. We did not take many risks, we almost always had the match under control and tactically we were perfect. We perhaps deserved to score earlier.

"We knew Zenit were going to play on the counter and that they could cause a threat. We circulated the ball patiently and won thanks to our persistence.

"We are now in a better position than when we started. 1-0 is always a good result in Europe and I am almost 100 per cent sure that we will score in St Petersburg."

Zenit coach Andre Villas-Boas admitted his side lacked a cutting edge up front - but expects it to be different in the return meeting.

He said: "At home we will attack and try to create chances which we didn't manage today. We prevented Benfica creating chances with crosses from the wings, with the exception of the last one, that gave them the advantage."

Zenit, who are in the middle of Russia's winter break and had not played competitively for two months, finished Tuesday's match with 10 men after left-back Domenico Criscito was sent off at the end for a second yellow card.

He will now miss the second leg through suspension, along with team-mate Javi Garcia after he picked up a booking.

Despite that and the one-goal deficit, Villas-Boas remains optimistic about their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals.

He added: "We have two more matches before the second leg which will allow us to gain some more practice. It was a pity to concede so close to the end.

"We wanted a 0-0, but the tie will be decided in our stadium.

"It is a hard venue for opposing teams, especially in front of our fans. It's a long trip for them, another time zone. This will create lots of problems for Benfica and we will try to turn the tie."

Source: PA