Benfica coach Bruno Lage has urged another “high level” performance from his team when they take a 4-2 lead into next week’s Europa League quarter-final second leg clash against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Joao Felix scored a hat-trick, with the 19-year-old striker delivering a memorable display in Lisbon as the Portuguese club established a commanding advantage.
He became the youngest player in Europa League history to net a treble, while Ruben Dias also scored for the hosts.
“The result serves me perfectly,” Lage told www.uefa.com.
“We go forward with a two-goal advantage. Even at 4-1, the tie would be open. All teams are difficult. We have another 90 minutes where we have to be at a high level.”
Dias added: “Above all, it was an important victory.
“We could have made it 5-1 and had an even bigger advantage, but it was a good result and it was important to score early and be able to play against 10 men.
“It’s all open – we just played the first part today.”
The visitors had defender Evan N’Dicka sent off by English referee Anthony Taylor for a foul after 21 minutes.
Luka Jovic had equalised Felix’s opener, and Frankfurt did not fall completely away, with substitute Goncalo Paciencia’s late goal giving them a glimmer of hope.
Despite the defeat, Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp praised “a strong performance” by the German club.
“The result isn’t really a fair reflection of the game,” he told DAZN.
“We actually produced a really good performance, but we’ve conceded too often.
“We played well, though, and can’t forget we were a man down for much of it and we still managed to produce a real threat in front of goal.
“Tonight, we have the right to be disappointed, but next week we have to turn a new leaf.
“We could have let our heads drop at 4-1, but we persevered and hopefully a 4-2 loss will be enough, come the end of the second leg.
“We’ve got to stay positive, analyse what went wrong and quickly put it behind us. We did a lot of things really well tonight, and the second leg is still to be played.”