LISBON: Two injury-time goals courtesy of Maxi Pereira and Nelson Oliveira secured Benfica’s passage to the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday with a convincing 2-0 win over Zenit Saint-Petersburg.
Jorge Jesus’s side had succumbed 3-2 in Russia in the first leg of the knockout phase after Roman Shirokov stunned the Portuguese by scoring the second of a brace of goals in the 88th minute.
Goals from Pereira, in first-half injury time, and Oliveira, at the tail end, capped a solid performance at the Stadium of Light and sent Benfica into the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since 2006.
Pereira and Jesus now believe Benfica could go all the way.
“We deserved to win and I’m really happy with this result,” said Pereira.
“Now we’re in the quarter-finals and we can beat anybody.”
Jesus said: “We now go in to the quarter-finals with the same ambitions we had at the start of the season and, whoever we get in the draw, we think we can go far.”
Benfica made their intentions clear from the outset, keeping visiting goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev on his toes throughout a lively first half which ended with the hosts 1-0 ahead.
Late chances by Jardel and Oliveira also went begging, while Viktor Fayzulin spurned a chance for a dramatic late equaliser when he sent his shot wide of the post in injury time.