The official website for European football

Group win the start for Benfica's Witsel and Garay

Published: Thursday 8 December 2011, 8.50CET
SL Benfica duo Axel Witsel and Ezequiel Garay are confident their side can cause further upsets after topping Group C while FC Oţelul Galaţi's Branko Grahovac relished their debut.
by Andy Brassell
from Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica
 
 
 
Published: Thursday 8 December 2011, 8.50CET

Group win the start for Benfica's Witsel and Garay

SL Benfica duo Axel Witsel and Ezequiel Garay are confident their side can cause further upsets after topping Group C while FC Oţelul Galaţi's Branko Grahovac relished their debut.

After being given a tough workout by a proud FC Oţelul Galaţi side, SL Benfica were pleased to earn top spot in UEFA Champions League Group C. Axel Witsel and Ezequiel Garay emphasised that the victory, rather than the 1-0 margin, was key in a group where they finished above FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United FC. Meanwhile, visiting pair Branko Grahovac and Gabriel Paraschiv saw plenty of value in the experience gleaned on their competition debut.

It was very important to finish first in the group. It was our objective before the match to do that, and we fulfilled our aim
Axel Witsel
It is not a good feeling at all to leave the competition without a single point, but I would say that we played very well
Branko Grahovac

Axel Witsel, Benfica midfielder
It was very important to finish first in the group. It was our objective before the match to do that, and we fulfilled our aim. We're very happy. It wasn't an easy group at all, and we had to stand up and be counted. We had a lot of possession and we tried to play our game as we always do.

It would have been good to score more goals, but the important thing was not to concede. Whether you score one, two or three goals, the important thing is still the three points. Since the start of the season, Artur has won us a fair few points. He stood up again tonight and showed why he's a great goalkeeper.

Ezequiel Garay, Benfica defender
Playing in any game is never easy, and that's even more so in the Champions League, but this was a deserved victory. Now we'll just wait patiently for the draw and see who we get. Whoever we get it's going to be difficult in the knockout round. We've worked hard to achieve this.

Everybody in the squad knows what we are trying to do, and it's in this way that we'll be able to achieve something important. We know what a good team we have and we're confident in ourselves, and we believe we can have a really good Champions League campaign.

Branko Grahovac, Oţelul goalkeeper
It is not a good feeling at all to leave the competition without a single point, but I would say that we played very well in some matches. We are debutants in this competition, in which the best club-level European football is played. This is a big experience for us, and I am so happy to have played in the UEFA Champions League.

Gabriel Paraschiv, Oţelul midfielder
It was a sad debut for us, as we were unable to take a point playing for the first time in the UEFA Champions League. We did not play badly, and to those who question our presence in the group stage, I can only tell them that what does not kill you makes you stronger.

Last updated: 25/09/14 6.55CET

Related information

Player profiles
Team profiles
Related match

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=1731478.html#group+start+benficas+witsel+garay

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.