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Match winner Sneijder enjoys 'sweet' success

Published: Wednesday 11 December 2013, 18.31CET
Wesley Sneijder has a "sweet memory" after his winner took Galatasaray AŞ into the knockout phase, while Juventus's Giorgio Chiellini refused to look for excuses.
by Dirk Vermeiren
from Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi
Match winner Sneijder enjoys 'sweet' success
Didier Drogba leaps onto goalscorer Wesley Sneijder in celebration ©AFP/Getty Images
 
 
 
Published: Wednesday 11 December 2013, 18.31CET

Match winner Sneijder enjoys 'sweet' success

Wesley Sneijder has a "sweet memory" after his winner took Galatasaray AŞ into the knockout phase, while Juventus's Giorgio Chiellini refused to look for excuses.

A dramatic game, stretched over two days, required a suitably dramatic finish, and Galatasaray AŞ's Wesley Sneijder provided it with an 85th-minute goal which took the Turkish club into the UEFA Champions League round of 16, a moment he described as a "sweet memory". As the snow swirled around the Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi the Juventus players trudged off having had their hopes of progress from Group B dashed at the last, but defender Giorgio Chiellini was magnanimous in defeat. "Galatasaray deserve every respect," he said, before setting his sights on the Turin final of the UEFA Europa League.

Wesley Sneijder, Galatasaray midfielder
Obviously I am in seventh heaven with the result. This is a big result and a big night, not just for the team, the club and the fans, but for all Turkish football. The fact I scored is fine, but I consider myself a servant of the team. All of us deserve credit, along with the fans who braved the weather.

I would have settled for a scenario such as this one, scoring with five minutes left. A perfect scenario for us. When it comes to playing with Didier Drogba, that is something special indeed. I vaguely remember celebrating the goal with him, rolling in the snow next to the pitch, and I have heard pictures are already circulating on the internet. I am looking forward to framing that picture because scoring that goal will always remain a sweet memory.

Fernando Muslera, Galatasaray goalkeeper
It was a game full of heroics, maybe not the most beautiful football, but I am sure every Galatasaray fan will remember this game against Juventus for the rest of his life. Me too. I do not think Juventus underestimated us. After all, we managed a draw in Turin earlier in the tournament. Plus, Galatasaray have qualified for the second successive year for the knockout phase, so that means we are a team to be reckoned with.

Felipe Melo, Galatasaray midfielder
I remember when the news broke that Group B comprised Real Madrid, Juventus, København and Galatasaray and some Italian commentators said that Juventus had at least two competitors they would easily brush aside – the Danes and us. I was disappointed by this and therefore feel a measure of revenge today. This is not against Juventus as a club, the players or the fans. I have played in Turin and have a lot of friends there. But these commentators should learn that at this level there are no easy teams.

Every team qualifying for the UEFA Champions League deserves respect. Maybe some people close to Juventus thought they could continue their form from Serie A. We proved them wrong. I think we played a cleverer game than them, honestly, deserving victory. What is the secret of Didier Drogba? I don't know, but one thing I know: for the past three years the whole world has been talking of him retiring but look at him. He is amazing.

Giorgio Chiellini, Juventus defender
There is no use looking for excuses. Having to ensure your qualification in Istanbul is never easy. I heard Felipe Melo maybe thought we underestimated Galatasaray. I do not agree. Galatasaray deserve every respect. Now we have to focus on the Europa League, a fine tournament. The fact this year's final is being played in Turin makes it even more attractive for Juventus.

Last updated: 11/12/13 18.36CET

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