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AZ relieved, Valencia resolved to battle back

Published: Friday 30 March 2012, 8.05CET
Although they were "a little lucky to win" defender Niklas Moisander was proud of AZ Alkmaar's 2-1 success against a Valencia CF side who are adamant they can still reach the last four.
by Derek Brookman
from AZ Stadion

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Published: Friday 30 March 2012, 8.05CET

AZ relieved, Valencia resolved to battle back

Although they were "a little lucky to win" defender Niklas Moisander was proud of AZ Alkmaar's 2-1 success against a Valencia CF side who are adamant they can still reach the last four.

AZ Alkmaar captain Niklas Moisander recognised that his side were "a little lucky" to overcome Valencia CF in their narrow 2-1 UEFA Europa League quarter-final first-leg win but was nonetheless proud of his team-mates. The visitors, meanwhile, are adamant that they can turn things around next Thursday in Spain, with defender Jérémy Mathieu insisting: "The tie is not finished."

Niklas Moisander, AZ defender
Valencia showed that they are a top European team. They had control of most of the game and could have scored a couple more so we were a little lucky today to win but I'm very proud of our guys, we stuck to our game plan and it worked quite well. The first goal just before the break gave us momentum and a mental advantage, but to come back for the 2-1 was also very important. It was a difficult evening [playing against Roberto Soldado]. You could see with his speed and how he moves in the box that he is a top striker, but it went OK.

Brett Holman, AZ midfielder
They dominated, especially in the first half. We like to have the ball and knock it about and that was difficult, so we should be happy with the win. Our whole left side is working really well at the moment, our left-back Simon Poulsen gives me a lot of freedom and a lot of balls and it works well. Two-one is a good starting position and we'll see what happens next week. I've never played at Mestalla before, I've never even played in Spain, so it will be interesting. They're a great side but we've got a good team as well so we’ll give it everything.

Jérémy Mathieu, Valencia defender
It's never good to get beaten but we did manage to score an away goal which could count double, and in the return match we'll definitely be going for victory. It wasn't any more difficult than we expected. The tie is not finished and we will be more attack-minded at Mestalla. It will be a different match from this evening. Winning the Europa League is just as high a priority for us as finishing third in the Liga, so we'll be doing everything we can to progress.

Sofiane Feghouli, Valencia midfielder
Two-one is still a defeat, which is never pleasant. It was difficult because the [AZ] supporters really got behind their team and they played well. The first goal we conceded was disappointing as it came from a corner and our marking wasn't what it should have been. AZ are a good side, they have a number of quality players and play in a very compact way. They are well organised, but the return will be different, our stadium is bigger and the pitch is larger. Obviously, we believe that we can reach the semi-finals.

Last updated: 27/11/12 15.56CET

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