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Málaga wary of wounded Panathinaikos

Published: Thursday 23 August 2012, 9.20CET
Despite holding a 2-0 lead against play-off rivals Panathinaikos FC, Málaga CF players Eliseu and Martín Demichelis are taking nothing for granted ahead of next Tuesday's return leg.
by Paul Bryan
from La Rosaleda

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Published: Thursday 23 August 2012, 9.20CET

Málaga wary of wounded Panathinaikos

Despite holding a 2-0 lead against play-off rivals Panathinaikos FC, Málaga CF players Eliseu and Martín Demichelis are taking nothing for granted ahead of next Tuesday's return leg.

After an absorbing first leg at La Rosaleda on Wednesday night, Málaga CF captain Weligton told UEFA.com that he and his team-mates were in celebratory but cautious mood following their 2-0 UEFA Champions League play-off first-leg victory against Panathinaikos FC. Goalscorer Martín Demichelis agreed, warning fans of Los Boquerones that there is a job to finish in Athens next Tuesday. Visiting midfielder Vitolo, meanwhile, insisted that although disappointment abounded in the away dressing room, the Greens would have their chances in the second leg.

Martín Demichelis, Málaga defender
Every one of us would have taken a 2-0 win prior to this game but having said that we are all too aware that this tie lasts 180 minutes and at this point we simply have a slender lead. We will go into the return leg in confident mood. We probably shouldn't speculate but what is clear is that they will be obliged to attack us as they look to score twice over there. We realise the importance of not having conceded here. They had chances to score while we could have found the target on more occasions. Perhaps after we went 2-0 up we relaxed a little and started to lose possession. We are not a team that knows how to play without the ball. Because of that we will look to be stronger in the return leg.

Weligton, Málaga defender and captain
It was a great game that started off in the stands with the fans creating a spectacular atmosphere. I think that our supporters deserved a night like this after all that they have been through and especially after a summer filled with speculation here. We look on the 2-0 result as a very good one, especially as we managed not to concede. We went close to scoring a third but our opponents also had their chances. The tie is still open but we have a big advantage. We must now try to rest and prepare for the return leg which will be tricky. Scoring an away goal will help our cause a lot. We must look to remain calm while sticking to our style of play in front of their fans.

Vitolo, Panathinaikos midfielder
It was exactly the type of match we were expecting. Málaga are a high-quality side and were playing at home. We were slightly taken aback in the first half while they looked very comfortable. We didn't take advantage of the chances that came our way – I counted three in the second half – and you pay for that at this level. The result tonight makes the task an uphill one from our point of view. We will try to score twice in Athens which will be hard but we will have our opportunities.

Toché, Panathinaikos forward
We didn't play to the standard that we can in the first half. They dominated and because of that we are left with a tricky task next week in Athens. I missed a chance tonight which, had it gone in, would have given this tie a very different feel. It's a pity. All that's left is for us is to continue working hard and to look to go into next Tuesday's return feeling confident in our chances of progressing.

Last updated: 27/11/12 7.11CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2013/matches/round=2000346/match=2009475/postmatch/quotes/index.html#malaga+wary+wounded+panathinaikos

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