Moyes upbeat after Benfica lesson

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The Independent Football

Everton manager David Moyes is determined his side will get back on track in the Europa League after back-to-back defeats by Benfica.

Qualification for the knock-out stage is still in their hands but the meeting in Greece next month against AEK Athens could hold the key.

Second-half goals from Javier Saviola and Oscar Cardozo saw Benfica cement their place at the top of the table last night.

Moyes remain quietly confident of making progress and said: "I would like to think so. There are some tough games coming up but we never thought the group would be easy.

"This is a long competition with lots of teams in it and others coming in later."

Everton had the majority of possession in the first half but got a taste of what was to come in the 43rd minute when Cardozo's header came back off the post.

Benfica stepped up the pace and Angel Di Maria squandered a great chance before the midfielder set up Saviola for a clinical finish in the 63rd minute.

Cardozo sealed the points 13 minutes later with a volley from an acute angle after Tony Hibbert had failed to close him down.

Moyes said: "Benfica broke quickly and the goals were not like the ones in the first game. It was a tighter match this time.

"They were not beautiful goals but poor from a defensive point of view. We became a little bit open in the second half as we tried to score.

"We lacked a bit of quality going forward and that did not help us but Benfica are a good side."

Benfica are almost certain to qualify, and coach Jorge Jesus was delighted after a match attended by club legend Eusebio, who was guest of honour.

It was Benfica's first win on the road in Europe in eight matches, and Jesus said: "We took a little bit more of risk in the second half and it worked.

"We had a good mentality in this game, which we needed, and I have a lot of trust in the players.

"Everton are one of the strongest sides we have played and I still expect them to join us in going through to the next stage."

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