FC Spartak Moskva's players were hugely satisfied after getting off the mark in UEFA Champions League Group G with a 2-1 win against SL Benfica, the visitors' Eduardo Salvio admitting: "I don't think this was our best game."
Nicolas Pareja, Spartak defender
We earned ourselves a very important three points. In order to keep our hopes alive of qualifying from the group, we knew we had to win. I hope this result can give us the strength and belief that we didn't have before and that we will continue to play in a similar manner.
Benfica are a very strong side in Europe who are always looking to play an excellent standard of football. The return match will certainly not be easy as they will be at home. They will be just as dangerous there as they were here this evening. However, we will put that to the back of our minds for the moment as we have a very important league game coming up.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Spartak midfielder
This was a very important result for us at home, but we must not forget that we face a difficult game next in Lisbon and I really hope we will be able to qualify for the knockout stage. Our fans want us to win and we have felt under a bit of pressure as things haven't been going our way. However, I think the guys were excellent today as we played very well and got the victory we needed. Some people think we don't have the temperament to get a result in these kind of games, but today we showed we have character and won a very important match.
We were told by our coach to be assertive on the pitch from the first minute and I thought we were excellent in the first half and at the start of the second. Then tiredness started to set in. We needed to be more relaxed in the closing stages and try and keep possession, but unfortunately whenever we got control of the ball we just hit it up field. We were constantly under pressure in the last 15 minutes because of this. I think we were just tired.
Kim Källström, Spartak midfielder
Everything was at stake for us today and if we didn't get three points, the UEFA Champions League would have been finished for us. So now we are back in the race despite the fact we lost here at home to Celtic, which put us in a difficult spot. Today we are happy with the victory and the way we played. Perhaps we could have killed the game off earlier, but then this is football and again Benfica are a strong team.
Offensively we don't struggle too much as this is our strength, but defensively we have had some problems and have struggled this month. For us the goal was to keep a clean sheet, but then again, if we score two and only concede one, then we are satisfied.
Eduardo Salvio, Benfica midfielder
If I am being honest, I don't think this was our best game. We didn't start playing until it was too late, when we finally managed to create some good opportunities, but unfortunately we weren't able to get the result we needed. Of course we are disappointed, but we have to look forward to our next match and I am sure we will win it.
From a mathematical point of view, Benfica still have a chance of going through to the knockout stage, but then again, so do Spartak and Celtic. We will be fighting to the end to make sure that we qualify. We now need to work on our mistakes, which we committed in the first half, in the return match; we need to play our game. I am sure that with the players that we have we can get an excellent result at our stadium.
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