Despite all the drama of his match-winning goal, FC København striker Dame N'Doye promised that calm will now reign in the Danish champions' ranks as they look to build on their 1-0 victory against FC Rubin Kazan in Group D.
No player had experienced more frustration trying to outfox the Rubin defence than N'Doye as time ticked down at Parken Stadion, but with three minutes to go he leapt to connect with Martin Vingaard's free-kick and directed it back across goal and in off the far post. Cue jubilation in the stands as FCK celebrated a winning return to the UEFA Champions League after four years away.
"It was my first time in the competition and my first goal so that's really satisfying, and we won too so overall it was a great start," N'Doye told UEFA.com. "I was at the far post, I jumped ahead of two defenders and I just managed to turn it in.
"We have to keep on working, though," he warned. "We need to keep our heads down and not get too carried away because there are other games to come. We'll have to do well in those too and put in the same effort we managed here all over again."
A large part of that effort involved staying focused until the final whistle. "We were at home, so we had to keep believing until the end," said the 25-year-old. "Even though the ball refused to go in, we just had to keep on believing. Rubin are a good team; they defend well and there wasn't a lot of space, but we were able to find a way past."
The goal was N'Doye's eighth of the season in all competitions and he will now be looking to register against his old club Panathinaikos FC on 29 September, a match that will recall memories of his effort for the Greek outfit against FCK in the UEFA Cup three seasons ago. "It'll be a good match and we hope to play well over there," he said. "When I played for Panathinaikos, we beat FCK, so this is kind of the reverse. It will be a special game for me but on the other hand it's still a game and we'll have to be at our best that day."
Memories will also be stirred on Matchday 2 for Rubin, who host FC Barcelona 12 months after winning 2-1 at Camp Nou. A similar outcome would be more than welcome for Kurban Berdyev's charges as they depart Denmark without a point on the board.
"It's a little bit disappointing because we had a lack of concentration," commented Rubin forward Obafemi Martins. "We thought we were going to get a draw and then they scored, but it's over now.
"We tried to create chances to score but didn't. It was disappointing because normally we score goals, but it was difficult for us in the second half. København are a good team; they kept on trying and they scored."
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