Benfica are a rising force in Europe, says Rui Costa

The former Portuguese international says the Aguias ambition is to reach the last stage of the Europa League at the Amsterdam ArenA and is proud to represent the whole country
Benfica director of football Rui Costa says the Eagles are a rising force in Europe after soaring to reach their second semi-final in three years and he targets more success on the horizon.

The Portuguese club knocked out Newcastle in the quarter-finals 4-2 on aggregate and have been drawn against the 18-time Turkish league winners in the semi-finals.

And the former Fiorentina and Milan midfielder knows it will not be an easy task against the Turkish club but remains confident ahead of the clash.

"It's the second semi-final in three years. Benfica is rising and improving. We are happy to be here but we want to go further. The goal is to reach the final," the 41-year-old told reporters.

"The most important thing was to be in the draw. Either opponent is of high quality, Fenerbahce eliminated Lazio. We want to continue our journey, with the ambition to reach the final and represent Portugal in a European final. It will not be easy but we are optimistic."

The first leg will be played in Turkey on 25 April before the fate of the two clubs will be decided on 2 May at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.