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Basel's Degen sets sights on semi-finals

Published: Friday 15 March 2013, 0.30CET
Still buzzing after FC Basel 1893 earned a quarter-final spot, Philipp Degen turned his sights on the semis, while FC Zenit St Petersburg's Roman Shirokov said "it was not to be".
by Martyn Hindley
from Stadion Petrovski

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Published: Friday 15 March 2013, 0.30CET

Basel's Degen sets sights on semi-finals

Still buzzing after FC Basel 1893 earned a quarter-final spot, Philipp Degen turned his sights on the semis, while FC Zenit St Petersburg's Roman Shirokov said "it was not to be".

FC Basel 1893 are becoming accustomed to late success in the UEFA Europa League. Having qualified for the knockout stage in the final round of group matches and then had their fans biting on nails during their round of 32 second leg against FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine, they endured an even greater scare against FC Zenit St Petersburg in the last 16 tonight. Before reaching the quarter-finals with a 2-1 aggregate success, goalkeeper Yann Sommer saved Roman Shirokov's 86th-minute penalty to seal their progress. Defender Philipp Degen stated boldly that, while a proud achievement, the last eight is not the height of the Swiss champions' ambition. Zenit captain Shirokov, meanwhile, was in philosophical mood, reflecting on a brave performance by the Russian hosts.

Philipp Degen, Basel defender
This is a big success for us – we are very happy and very proud because we played a really good game at home and could have scored a few more goals there. It was very difficult here because it was minus eight and they also wanted to reach the quarter-finals. We knew that they would come at us very strongly with their backs to the wall, and the red card made it very difficult, but we were lucky and in the end we won. I think the coach did a very good job – he showed us every detail and at this level we need to understand that every detail is important. It is important that we have a good team and are ready for the quarter-finals, whoever we play. Our focus is to reach the semi-finals because it is a big chance for us and we will keep working for it.

Roman Shirokov, Zenit midfielder
I don't think that it was a bad performance from us, we won the game and we did not give in. It is frustrating but it is not a blow for the team because we had chances and it was very unfortunate that we did not go through. Usually [Aleksandr] Kerzhakov and I take the penalties – this time it was my turn but it was not to be.

Last updated: 16/03/13 0.13CET

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