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Sérgio Conceição congratulated the players after the victory in Madeira, against Nacional (4-2), in the Round of 16 of the Portuguese Cup

On the day he reached the 189 matches in the lead of FC Porto, Sérgio Conceição saw his team qualify to the quarter-finals of the Portuguese Cup, after beating Nacional (4-2), in extra time, at Estádio da Madeira, for the Round of 16 of the competition. Sérgio Conceição praised the blue and white performance in the match, but believes that the blue and white victory missed goals: “If we had been effective today, the score would have been historic, I believe”. Now, the coach assured, the focus is fully on the classic against Benfica, scheduled for Friday (21h00), at Estádio do Dragão, for matchday 14 of the championship: “We want to play a great match and win, of course”.

The resume of the match
“It was a match that we started in a fantastic way, with a first-half where we created enough situations to reach the break with a different result. Nacional tied on their first shot, after we had already scored the first goal and had occasions to increase the advantage. In the second-half, in a quick counter-attack, Nacional made it 2-1, at a time when we also had opportunities to score. We had situations after situations against a team that tried to defend the best way they could and that is always dangerous in offensive transitions. In the reaction to losing the ball, in one or two situations, we weren’t as balanced, but it was a very good match and of great quality from our team, even if we did concede two goals. In that regard, it was strange, as in the only two or three shots they had, Nacional scored two goals, and they also had the penalty, in which they could have scored. Nacional had maximum efficiency and we, had we been efficient today, I believe the result would have been historical. I would be worried if the team didn’t create occasions.”

Fantastic team spirit
“In all that was team work, not only on the defence, but also in the reaction to losing the ball, the team was very supportive on the pitch. Then there were one or two individual mistakes that punished us. When it’s the other way around, when we force the opponent’s individual mistake, many times we can’t score. It’s a moment, but it’s not a matter of great concern. I see a fantastic team spirit, not only on those who play, but also on those who go in, who are always an asset to the team. Congratulations to the players, although it was a bigger effort than we had expected.”

Mbemba’s absence from the squad
“Mbemba felt some fatigue and I chose not to risk it, even though my strategy was to use the three available central defenders, with Malang Sarr playing as a left fullback. It wasn’t indispensable to bring Mbemba. I left him in Porto as a precaution.”

Friday’s classic against Benfica
“I would rather not have gone to extra time, but we need to look forward and think of Benfica. We want to play a great match and win, of course.”

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