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Benitez: Porto tie ´like a final´

18 March 2014 10:00

Napoli head coach Rafael Benitez has described Thursday's UEFA Europa League last-16 meeting with Porto as "like a final".

After losing the first leg 1-0 at Estadio Do Dragao, the Serie A outfit will look to overturn the deficit at Stadio San Paolo in the return clash.

Benitez is aiming to win Europe's second-tier competition for the second successive year after guiding Chelsea to the 2013 Europa League with a 2-1 triumph over Benfica.

Napoli head into the contest on the back of a morale-boosting 1-0 success at Torino on Monday, which came courtesy of a last-gasp winner from Gonzalo Higuain.

And Benitez says his side are in a buoyant mood ahead of the encounter.

"We reach this game (against Porto) with confidence, because we won a difficult test (against Torino)," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We need to get everyone fit again and hope we are fresh for a match that will be like a final."

The Spaniard also praised the performance of midfielder Marek Hamsik, who has enjoyed a difficult period in Italy's top flight this term but put in an assured performance against Torino.

He added: "He did much better, as he helped out the team in attack and defence. I never thought of bringing him into a deeper role, as he is so good at the final ball and those runs forward.

"I said that I had faith in him and he replied with a good performance. I think he needs to have freedom to do what he wants on the field."

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Info

2 - 2

Porto

W W W L D
Competition
UEFA Europa League
Date
20 March 2014
Kick-off
21:05
Half-time
1 - 0
Full-time
2 - 2
On aggregate
2 - 3
Venue
Stadio San Paolo (Napoli)
Attendance
54145

Goals

G. Pandev 21'
(assist by G. Higuaín) 
1 - 0
1 - 1
69' N. Ghilas
 (assist by Fernando)
1 - 2
76' Ricardo Quaresma
 (assist by Josue)
D. Zapata 90'+2
(assist by José Callejón) 
2 - 2

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
17
91 90+2'
7
2
5
15
20
# Player Bookings
8
11 69'
19
10
16
46
41

Saturday 18 April

19:45
19:32
19:32
19:30
19:23
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18:58
18:54
18:04
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18:01
17:56
17:56
17:34
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15:47
13:55
13:24
12:18
11:11
10:23
10:08
08:53
06:14
05:30
04:09
03:26
03:06

Friday 17 April

23:58
23:50
23:28
22:45
22:34
22:30
21:02
20:22
18:50
18:48
17:57
17:30
17:16
17:03
16:46
16:46
16:38
16:04
15:46
15:36
15:16
14:58
14:37
14:33
14:29
14:21
14:11
13:55
13:49
13:43
13:36
13:23
13:22
13:02
12:33
12:17
11:57
11:52
11:18
10:59
10:35
09:09
08:28
07:32
07:25
07:02
05:26
03:37
03:12
02:47
02:38
01:26
01:06
01:00

Thursday 16 April

23:49
23:38
23:15
23:11
23:01
22:57
22:31
21:43
20:55
20:30
19:29
18:24
18:18
18:15
18:11
18:08
17:54
17:50
17:43
17:41
17:27
17:12
16:59
16:59
16:22
16:22
16:15
16:00
15:55
15:44
15:09
15:07
14:42
14:40
14:02
13:52
12:55
12:38
12:33
11:36
11:31
11:00
10:55
10:27
10:23
10:05
10:00
09:56
09:50
08:49
08:00
07:42
07:39
05:03
04:21
04:20
04:19
03:35
03:14
02:28
01:58
01:20
00:04
00:02

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