BSC Young Boys' roving right-back Scott Sutter was grateful for the touch of luck that enabled him to inspire a memorable comeback victory over VfB Stuttgart in UEFA Europa League Group H.
With 81 minutes played in snowy Berne, and Young Boys 2-1 down, Sutter pounced on a half-clearance in the Stuttgart area to fire across a shot that caught visiting captain Georg Niedermeier on its way past goalkeeper Marc Ziegler. "We worked hard as a team, we needed a bit of luck, and we had it in the last ten minutes," said the 24-year-old Swiss international. "My shot deflected off the guy's head and went in – if the guy wasn't there it probably wouldn't have gone in."
That slight deflection made the difference alright. The equaliser it precipitated was the platform for Young Boys to go and claim the one result that would put them into the UEFA Europa League knockout rounds with a matchday to spare. A minute later Sutter drove in a cross that Ziegler could only divert into the path of Emmanuel Mayuka to scuff a finish past a defender on the line.
Again, Sutter recognised his good fortune: "If the goalkeeper doesn't touch the ball, the ball probably would have gone [past Mayuka]. We had that luck and I'm happy I could help the team achieve what we did."
That the home win was then put beyond doubt by 20-year-old Zambian forward Mayuka, expertly converting a one-on-one with Ziegler in the 87th minute, also delighted Sutter. "Emmanuel is a great player, he's a great person, and he is one that definitely wants to improve," said the English-born defender. "You see every day in training how he wants to be a good player, and he's a very good player for us. We just need to give him a bit of time and a bit of confidence, but I think he's got it and he's been rewarded today with goals."
Sutter likewise, with his strike one for the scrapbook alongside "three or four" goals notched for former side Grasshopper-Club en route to the UEFA Cup group stages of 2005/06 and 2006/07. On neither occasion did Grasshoppers survive the group, making Sutter particularly pleased to have finally progressed into the knockout phase.
"We knew we had to believe in our chances," he said. "Sometimes it doesn't work out, today it did, and it's definitely a good thing for the club that we are through.
"The Europa League has been fantastic this season, it's been a great experience. I have played in two group stages of the UEFA Cup, and they are among the times in my career that I look back on with good memories despite not getting through like we have now. I'm really enjoying it."
Looking ahead to the round of 32, Vladimir Petković's men can take great heart from their home performances in Europe. YB have not just beaten Getafe CF, Odense BK and section winners Stuttgart in Group H, they also held Fenerbahçe SK and defeated Tottenham Hotspur FC in UEFA Champions League qualifying at the Stade de Suisse.
Of their hopes for the competition, Sutter added: "It's difficult to say if we will get any further. It is not going to be easy and it depends who we get drawn against, obviously. But we have shown we can beat anyone in our own stadium. We have shown it against Fenerbahçe and Tottenham, and then against Getafe and Stuttgart. I am confident."
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