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Mbokani not masking his joy

Published: Wednesday 7 November 2012, 8.07CET
"I took a few knocks, but that's football," said Dieudonné Mbokani after netting RSC Anderlecht's winner despite a protective mask, while FC Zenit St Petersburg rued their slow start.
by Chris Burke
from Constant Vanden Stock Stadium
Published: Wednesday 7 November 2012, 8.07CET

Mbokani not masking his joy

"I took a few knocks, but that's football," said Dieudonné Mbokani after netting RSC Anderlecht's winner despite a protective mask, while FC Zenit St Petersburg rued their slow start.

The delight was palpable for RSC Anderlecht's players after their 1-0 defeat of FC Zenit St Petersburg brought a first UEFA Champions League home win in nine years and moved the club within a point of second-placed AC Milan in Group C. Dieudonné Mbokani grabbed the goal despite wearing a mask to protect a broken nose and he expressed his joy following a week spent training away from his team-mates, while Zenit's Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel lamented the fact that his team "didn't start at all well" in Brussels.

Dieudonné Mbokani, Anderlecht forward
I'm very happy with this win tonight because I worked all week with the physio, away from the team. It was only during the game that I got to play with the team again, but it was easy. I got used to wearing the mask during training so it was OK, and in terms of breathing it went fine as well. I took a few knocks, but that's football.

It was a good finish, but whenever I'm up against a goalkeeper in training I always lob the ball over him. I tried it during the match and managed to score, and I'm proud.

It'll be a difficult match against Milan, but we have to get three points. If we can do that, we'll be almost through to the next round. We'll need to work well together again. We're playing well at the moment, in the league and the Champions League, and I'm very happy with the work that the coach is doing with the squad.

Sacha Kljestan, Anderlecht midfielder
To win tonight and get a little monkey off our back, score our first goal and get our first win – everything feels good right now. The coach was pleased with our performance and we gave each other a round of applause [in the dressing room afterwards]. We had each other's backs on the field today and we played like a real team.

We've shown a lot of character in the last few weeks, coming back from some bad losses in the league ever since our loss here at home against Málaga – and also the disappointing result in Zenit. We were very disappointed to lose 1-0 away against Zenit. We felt we had some good chances but we couldn't put a goal away. Frustration was building a little after three games without a goal, so we're happy to get three points tonight.

We've done a good job after our first few games to now put ourselves in a position where we can move into second with a win against Milan, so there's everything to play for still and we're happy to still be involved. We have confidence right now.

Axel Witsel, Zenit midfielder
We came to here to get a win, but that's always going to be difficult if you only start playing after 45 minutes. We didn't start the game at all well and Anderlecht began to grow in confidence, which made it even harder for us. We started the second half a lot better, managed to hold onto the ball and created a few chances, but unfortunately we weren't able to level the score.

We didn't lack confidence. We're going through a very positive spell at the moment, with five or six wins in a row and we were absolutely intent on continuing that, but unfortunately we lost tonight. We're going to have to fight until the end now if we hope to grab hold of second spot.

Nicolas Lombaerts, Zenit defender
I think Anderlecht were the better side today. The things we planned didn't work out for us, so we can only be really disappointed. There was not enough fighting spirit and our passing was not good enough, and that meant we didn't perform as we'd like to have done. Let's hope we turn it around soon. Our recent results were OK, but today it didn't happen. We have to win twice and then it's still not in our own hands, so it'll be difficult. It's going to get tough.

Last updated: 27/11/12 13.14CET

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