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Diego Capel produced one of the goals of his career to give Sporting Clube de Portugal a 2-1 first-leg win in their UEFA Europa League semi-final, but the winger said it could feasibly have been Athletic Club leaving Lisbon with the victory. Capel capped a thunderous home performance with a long-range strike which, following Emiliano Insúa's header, completed a four-minute fightback. However, the Athletic players believe that vibrant support next week in San Mamés will help them edge the tie.
Diego Capel, Sporting Clube de Portugal winger
This was a brilliant European game in every way – the fans, the stadium, the contest, and there was no controversy to talk about. The quality of football was brilliant. I feel fortunate that it was my goal that won the match but the whole team were spectacular – we gave a terrific display against a great rival.
It would have been unjust if we had lost that game. We showed a great attitude, were tactically sound, defended well and then created lots of chances. But football can be like that. In the end we have got a great result against a side with real European pedigree. In fact it's probably a tighter result than we merited, because we deserved another goal.
We have to be pretty satisfied because if we show this kind of attitude we can go far. For the goal, there wasn't much room to have a run at their defence so it was just instinctive to shoot and it turned out very nicely. As far as returning to the San Mamés, for me it's a great stadium. The fans there appreciate good football.
Fernando Llorente, Athletic Club forward
They were tough opponents. Right from the start they left us with very little room to play in and closed down the space so that we couldn't get between their defence and their midfield to try and cause them problems. Early on they had a number of set plays which took a lot of work to deal with, so it really wasn't an easy game and the result that we take from here isn't too bad in the circumstances.
I thought that when we went one up their heads dropped a bit and we had a couple of chances to score a second, but crucially we didn't take them, and suddenly Sporting created one more chance and they scored. Of course, that gave them a big boost and their confidence returned, so from Capel's goal to the final whistle they were better than us.
Ander Herrera, Athletic Club midfielder
Overall, this is a positive result. A 1-0 win would put us through, so we need to be optimistic. We are strong at San Mamés in front of our fans and we just need to go out and demonstrate that. We have a result that we can overturn. We have to improve because there were things to improve, but we also have to be optimistic.
We need to remember the game against Lokomotiv Moskva in the round of 32 when we had a similar away result but took them to Bilbao and won 1-0 to knock them out.
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