History will show that Olympiacos FC recorded their 30th UEFA Champions League victory courtesy of a first-half goal from Kostas Manolas, but the goalscorer was in no doubt about who deserved the real credit: goalkeeper Roberto.
"He won the match for us," Manolas said of Roberto, who shone bright against former side SL Benfica with a string of stunning saves. The man of the moment, who saved a penalty in the win at RCD Anderlecht earlier this season, was more understated, saying his performance was reward for "hard work, sacrifice and professionalism".
Kostas Manolas, Olympiacos defender
It's not important that I got to score. What's important is our victory. I work for the team. To be honest, I don't believe that it was my goal that earned us the victory; it was our goalkeeper [Roberto]. He is to be congratulated, because in the previous game in Lisbon, the Portuguese press wrote that Roberto saved Benfica. Today he saved Olympiacos and put Benfica in a very tough spot.
We were expecting them to push hard but we weren't at our best. We weren't as we should be, but all that matters now is the victory and us being close to qualifying to the next phase. We are a big team and, as such, we also possess the characteristic of being able to win even when we don't play well. Nothing is sealed as far as qualification is concerned. We have two more matches and we'll count our beans afterwards.
Roberto, Olympiacos goalkeeper
I feel good. It was a tough match for us. We knew beforehand that we would contest our passage to the next round against Benfica. The win puts us in a privileged position. I am very satisfied with the team's effort. I thank Manolas for his words [on my performance]. I am always trying to do my job, to do it well. This [tonight] is not a response, but a reward for hard work, sacrifice and professionalism that I think I am displaying on a daily basis, and I will try to keep the same level.
We suffered considerably and spent much time in our own half. I believe we are capable of holding the ball more – that's what we were missing tonight: hold on to the ball more, combine as we have done in previous matches. But from time to time some matches dictate the style of play. I believe that by having more possession, we can be a team that attacks more, creates more chances and therefore suffers less at the back.
Qualification is on track. We are second in the standings, three points ahead of Benfica. However, our good work tonight and fine performances in previous games will mean nothing if we don't do our job well in the remaining two matches.
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