Benfica v Fenerbahce preview
Wed, 01 May 2013 18:56:00
Benfica coach Jorge Jesus is confident his side can progress to the Europa League final when they face Fenerbahce on Thursday night.
The Portuguese league leaders trail 1-0 from the first leg in Turkey thanks to Egemen Korkmaz's goal and are fortunate not to be further behind after being dominated for large parts of the match at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.
The hosts hit the woodwork three times, including once from the penalty spot, as they looked to put the tie to bed, but Jesus' men held on to a one-goal deficit and the coach is confident that they can make it to the final in Amsterdam.
"It is a result that is dangerous but also gives confidence that we can turn it around," he told a press conference.
"We have some experience of these matches in the Europa League and the Champions League so we are calm.
"We will not change anything that we have done throughout this Europa League campaign. We trust and hope that the fans will also help us."
The Turkish side have a formidable record away from home in this season's competition and have yet to taste defeat, while they claimed an impressive win in Marseille in the group stages.
They also held Lazio to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico in the second leg of their quarter-final, but Barcelona are the only visitors to have claimed a win at the Estadio da Luz this season and Jesus believes that could be key.
The Benfiquistas were in league action on Monday night against Maritimo and are facing a hectic end to the season with three league matches and a Portuguese Cup final to come as they try to complete a remarkable treble.
But striker Oscar Cardozo, who has scored 54 goals in 77 matches for the Eagles, does not believe that fatigue will be factor.
"We're fine," he added. "We have had many games but we feel good for tomorrow and I think we will all be 100%."
While Jesus may have a fully fit squad to choose on Thursday night, the coach will be without Dutch midfielder Ola John who received a yellow card in the first leg and is suspended.
The visitors will be without midfielder Mehmet Topal and striker Pierre Webo, who are both suspended, while ex-Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles is injured.