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Pepe's Madrid joy as City reflect

Published: Thursday 22 November 2012, 7.23CET
If Real Madrid CF defender Pepe voiced his satisfaction at advancing from a tough Group D, there was frustration for Manchester City FC at another costly draw and early exit.
by Simon Hart
from City of Manchester Stadium
 
 
 
Published: Thursday 22 November 2012, 7.23CET

Pepe's Madrid joy as City reflect

If Real Madrid CF defender Pepe voiced his satisfaction at advancing from a tough Group D, there was frustration for Manchester City FC at another costly draw and early exit.

It was, by their own admission, neither the perfect performance nor result for Real Madrid CF, but there was still satisfaction after they left Manchester City FC with a 1-1 Group D draw – and their place in the UEFA Champions League last 16 secured for the 16th year running. As for City, there was the disappointment of a second early exit for a team still finding their way in the UEFA Champions League.

Pepe, Madrid defender
I think in a difficult group like this, it's good to qualify. We worked hard today against City who are a good team. It's between them and Ajax in the last game [for the UEFA Europa League] but we've achieved our objective. This was quite a tough group with teams who were all domestic champions and it's hard for any team to stand out, but happily we've managed to get through to the next phase. We played a good first half at a tough ground, we had a good tempo going but in the second half we weren't as good as we'd have hoped though we still came away with a draw and qualification.

Iker Casillas, Madrid goalkeeper
We had chances to finish the match off [before the break but] Manchester City made things difficult in the second half. We had a tough time after [Álvaro] Arbeloa's sending-off, and they got some momentum from that, the penalty and the equaliser. We struggled but we managed to get what we needed from the match and to qualify. I agree with [José Mourinho] – the important thing was that we got through to the round of 16, as we had a very tough group.

Álvaro Arbeloa, Madrid defender
They were better in the second half, they had space down the right side because we know that we've got to put in the work there and give that bit extra to keep Cristiano fresh [to attack]. You never know if it's better to be first or second [in the group] – first place guarantees you nothing. Playing the second leg at home can be better, but we'll have to wait for the draw.

Pablo Zabaleta, City defender
We're disappointed – we needed to win today, it was our last chance to get three points and get closer to qualifying. We've a chance left to qualify for the Europa League, [but] obviously we wanted to qualify in the top two so we're a bit sad about that. We had a decent second half and we're sorry not to have won the game.

Normally when you play at home it's important to get three point but we didn't win any of our three games and this affects things a lot. It's a shame – the second successive season we couldn't qualify for the second phase. We have to to stay positive and keep working hard – the club has a project, to keep growing and hopefully we'll have a better chance next year.

Joe Hart, City goalkeeper
We're very disappointed. We've had a few opportunities in this group when we could have done a lot better. All the games have cost us. We've lost our two away games and not won at home. We led in Amsterdam and led in Madrid. It's been a disappointing campaign. We've surprised ourselves in a very, very bad way in this competition.

Last updated: 10/03/13 17.57CET

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