Andre Villas-Boas has firmly set his sight on helping Zenit Saint Petersburg beat Benfica and qualify for the quarter final of the UEFA Champions League for the first time ever.
Benfica led 1-0 from the first leg courtesy a late goal from Jonas while Domenico Criscito saw red for the Russian. Zenit lost over two legs to the Portuguese in 2012 and have reached the round of 16 three time out of five.
However, Villas-Boas is confident that home advantage will be a decisive factor which will allow Zenit to progress.
“In the return leg at we have such an advantage with our fans,” said Villas-Boas. “I am sure it will be a full stadium and they will create the atmosphere that will help the team to a new level.
“We are confident that we can score the necessary goals. The quarter-finals of the Champions League is our dream – it will be a major event for Russian football. And of course, this special emotion will help us on Wednesday.”
Zenit have won all three of their Champions League home games this season and are unbeaten in seven games at home to Portuguese sides, while Benfica have lost four of their last five away clashes in the knockout rounds.
Speaking to UEFA.com, Benfica forward said: “Now it’s kill or be killed,” the forward told UEFA. “It’s different from playing six matches in the group stage – it’s only two games and you can’t let your guard down because that can cost you qualification. You need to double your focus.
“Everyone knows the Champions League’s financial factor is important for the club and also the profile the competition gives you. The goal we set at the start of the season was to get through the group stage and then take it match by match. We have reached our target and now we have to continue.”
The game against Benfica will be Hulk’s 50th Champions League game and interestingly, Zenit and Benfica have picked up the most cards in the Champions League this season: 24 and 23 respectively.