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May 16, 2013

Benfica 'gunned down' by defeat

Benfica manager Jorge Jesus felt his side had been "gunned down" by small details as the Portuguese club slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Chelsea in the Europa League final.

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Benfica mercilessly attacked the Chelsea goal in the first-half for no reward before the Premier League club opened the scoring through Fernando Torres in the 59th minute.

But Jesus' side rallied and were level soon after, Oscar Cardozo scoring from the spot after Cesar Azpilicueta handled inside Chelsea's box.

But in dramatic fashion, Blues defender Branislav Ivanovic sweetly timed his run to head home from a corner deep into added time.

It was the second time in as many games that Jesus' side had conceded late winners in crucial matches, the club slipping behind rivals Porto in the Primeira Liga after falling to a 2-1 defeat.

And the 58-year-old coach could not fathom how his side had again failed not to turn match superiority into victory.

"I'd like to tell you how proud I am to be here," he told uefa.com. "Today Benfica showed the world they would be worthy winners, showed that they have real quality.

"Our fans deserved victory for the passion and loyalty they showed.

"For most of the 90 minutes Benfica were better – better organised, technically and tactically superior to a very good Chelsea team.

"Chelsea are strong on the counterattack, though, and while in the first half we stopped them using this ploy, in the second half we had less success.

"We looked the side most likely to make it 1-0, then 2-1 – small details made the difference, especially in the penalty area.

"Again, for the second time in five days we conceded the decisive goal in injury time.

"Once again the players felt they didn't deserve to lose. At the end they felt they'd been gunned down.

"We still have two finals to play this season though: we have the Portuguese Cup final and the Liga title race isn't over yet.

"I was proud when Johan Cruyff hugged me at the end and told me that Benfica were a real team, playing football in a style he likes. I learned a lot from him so it means a lot."

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