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May 3, 2013

Jesus: Benfica on brink of history

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus believes his side deserve to make history by claiming a first European trophy in over 50 years after they progressed to the Europa League final with a 3-1 semi-final second leg win over Fenerbahce.

The Portuguese side last tasted continental glory in the 1962 European Cup final, but stand on the brink of success as they prepare to face Chelsea - who defeated FC Basel in the other semi-final on Thursday - in Amsterdam.

Jesus insists that, despite losing the first leg of the tie 1-0 in Turkey, his charges were thoroughly deserving of progression to the decider, with Benfica's last European final resulting in a loss to AC Milan in 1990.

"We knew after Istanbul that we were a better team than them overall," Jesus explained. "They didn't create many problems for us.

"This is historic given the last time Benfica got to a European final and we get there with all justice.

"Our dynamic was stronger, pace higher and we managed to keep it throughout the match because we kept the ball. They scored from a penalty but never really created a lot of problems."

Fenerbahce coach Aykut Kocaman says the difference between the two sides was experience, explaining that his team were unable to remain composed after taking a 1-0 lead in the tie.

"We are very sorry, we wanted to play the final," Kocaman said. "Benfica has played at this level for many years. The match was in line with expectations - Benfica using the advantage of playing on home turf.

"We started to play better after scoring the goal, but Benfica came at us with the advantage of playing at home. When they got their second goal, they came at us even more. We had a few chances, but they disappeared after the third goal.

"The main thing is we were facing a team that has experience, that has played 12 or 13 times in semi-finals, while we were playing a semi for the first time. I think that was the most important difference here."

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