There was pride mixed with a sense of what might have been after Galatasaray AŞ bowed out of the UEFA Champions League with a stirring victory over Real Madrid CF. Just as in these teams' 2001 quarter-final, the Turkish side won their home leg 3-2 but paid the price for a 3-0 away loss, leaving goalscorer Didier Drogba to rue their failure to perform so well a week ago in Spain. "If we'd played like that in the first leg, the score might have been different," he said.
Felipe Melo, Galatasaray midfielder
We could have done a bit more [but overall] we can't complain – we beat a great team and we are proud. We showed at home how strong we are. At half-time the coach spoke about tactics. We told ourselves we had to change, we had to play with more heart, we had our fans behind us, we were at home and in the second half, thankfully, we won the game.
Unfortunately we didn't win the tie but we're proud as we've beaten the strongest side in Europe. Also, we have equalled the best performance by Galatasaray in the Champions League [era] and go out by beating Real Madrid, so we're pleased. We're proud but we have to work hard now to win the championship and get back into the competition next season.
Didier Drogba, Galatasaray forward
It was a really good game but it would have been even better if we'd managed to qualify. We saw again tonight that the fans here are extraordinary. It's a shame but I think Madrid deserved it. Them scoring so early set us back, but in the second half we showed after scoring that we believed in ourselves. If we'd played like that in the first leg the score might have been different. [My goal] is not so important because we are out. I don't like to score and be out, for me it doesn't mean anything.
Hamit Altıntop, Galatasaray midfielder
The 3-0 in the first game was actually really hard on us. But all in all, over the two games, the cleverer team won and we can only congratulate them. Tonight, we did what we couldn't achieve in the first leg, which was to score. After we scored, we got a lift and with our fantastic fans behind us, who knows what might have been possible. Madrid are tough opponents – they can score at any time, out of the blue, but at the same time they can play really badly, as they did today when they came close to throwing it all away.
Semih Kaya, Galatasaray defender
We could hold our heads up high at the end – we've beaten a big team like Real Madrid 3-2 at home and I believe we played good football tonight. When we had the 3-1 lead, our confidence about reaching the semi-finals dramatically increased but we failed to get the goals we needed. I hope we'll be successful in the coming years in this competition – there are young players like me in this squad and I think we'll gain more experience in the future.
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