Trailing 3-1 from the first leg and 4-1 on aggegate when Ezequiel Garay opened the scoring, two goals in as many minutes from Nacer Chadli had the Portuguese giants rocking with the aggregate score back to 4-3 and 10 minutes remaining.
We continued on the front foot for the remainder of the game, causing the hosts all manner of problems as we sought the one extra goal needed to force extra time.
But a stoppage time penalty from Lima halted our charge and ensured Benfica avoided a rare home loss as they progressed 5-3 on aggregate.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice at home but we came here with a 3-1 deficit and we’re going home disappointed we didn’t turn it around – that says everything,” reflected Head Coach Tim afterwards.
“The performance of the players as a group was magnificent.
“We had a game plan and even when they scored, we didn’t divert from it. We stuck to it and once we scored, we had them where we wanted them.
“We were creating chances and we’re just gutted we’ve come away and we’re not still in the competition.”
Tim reserved praise for our travelling fans, who were in full voice throughout the night and spurred the lads on as we chased a second leg turnaround.
“The following we had here tonight, they travelled a long way looking for a response and they got that,” Tim added.
“We’re grateful for their support and they sung their hearts out, we’re just gutted we couldn’t do the ultimate and still be in the competition.”