Benfica were held to a 1-1 draw by FC Porto in Saturday night’s Clássico at the Estádio da Luz. For the first time in Rui Vitória’s tenure, the Eagles dominated a match against their northern rivals, but after Jonas’ seventh minute penalty, they were unable to convert their superiority into more goals. Maxi Pereira scored the visitors' second half equaliser against his former club, before Iker Casillas took centre-stage with a string of stunning saves.
Vitória cut an understandably frustrated figure after the final whistle:
"It's difficult to talk about this game. We were a good team that wanted to win from the beginning. We started strongly and scored the goal as a consequence of what we were doing. FC Porto settled but without (creating) opportunities. In the second half, with the only ball that was in our penalty area, and with some rebounds in the middle, they scored the goal. Afterwards we had a great response, with many opportunities. We have to be sad because my team deserved the victory for their exhibition."
The 46-year old also paid tribute to Porto goalkeeper Casillas, who delivered a mammoth performance at the Estádio da Luz for the second season in succession.
"That's life! There were several balls in the face of Casillas, who was the one that secured this draw."
"We weren't able to put the ball in the back of the net. We showed clearly why it is that we are ahead [in the championship], and the result will not tarnish the great exhibition that we gave. We set up the team with the clear objective of winning. However, unfortunately we were unable. Today we showed what we want. There is a fight until the end and we are here for it."
Pizzi also felt that his side had done enough to secure the three points:
"We started very well, determined, with an enormous will to win, and galvanised by these fantastic supporters. We started strongly, aggressively, scored the goal (and) had more opportunities but we did not make it 2-0, which would have given us greater tranquility."
"They started better in the second half (and) scored the goal, but afterwards it was an avalanche on our part and their goalkeeper had a decisive role."
The result leaves Benfica top of the Liga NOS with just seven games remaining, but the 27-year old midfielder denied that he and his teammates were happy with the result.
"We are not satisfied. We wanted to win... we showed it from the outset. But we are still ahead, we depend on ourselves, and all together we will continue to fight for our objective. We knew that the fight would be to the end... this Clássico was an important game but not decisive, and now it's time to continue working because the fight will be huge until the end."
Jonas’ successful penalty was his first goal against Porto in four attempts. The Brazilian was awarded the Man of the Match award for his efforts on his 33rd birthday, although he was not so content with the final scoreline.
"I'm happy to have won the prize, (but) unfortunately the result was not what we wanted. However, it was a great game... a Clássico between two great teams. I'm satisfied with everything that the team did and produced... we were the ones that played the better football and deserved the victory."
The Porto players celebrated jubilantly at the final whistle, despite missing the opportunity to leapfrog Benfica into first place. Was their reaction a surprise to Jonas?
"I did not even notice, but that sums it all up!"
To conclude, Jonas pledged that Benfica would do everything in their power to secure a fourth consecutive league title, otherwise known as the Tetracampeanato.
"The Championship goes on and this fight will last until the end. As our coach said, it will be goal by goal, point by point, matchday by matchday... and it is this dispute that enhances Portuguese football."
"We are playing our part and the supporters too, and it is this union between all that will be decisive to achieving our great objective which is the Tetra."