Sevilla FC manager Juande Ramos said his side's 2-0 win against AEK Athens FC was a "magnificent result" after last season's UEFA Cup winners overcame the weight of expectancy to close in on a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time.
Second-half strikes from Luis Fabiano and Frédéric Kanouté gave Sevilla a first-leg lead in their third qualifying round, to the delight of their coach. "It's a magnificent result - one that's difficult to overcome in Europe - and it was especially important not to concede a goal at home," Ramos said. "Sevilla were excessively nervous and vulnerable in the first half but after the break the players calmed down and the goal helped. Greek clubs are very good at home so we will have to work very hard so as not to have an ugly surprise."
Midfielder Jesús Navas also believes that keeping a clean sheet has given Sevilla a major advantage in the tie, despite star defender Daniel Alves being on the brink of a move to Chelsea FC. "We did a great job and we didn't want to concede any goals at home because we know it'll be a tough match in Athens. We're working hard for all the matches ahead, but the important thing tonight was not to let AEK score any goals. Alves is a great friend and a great player but we have to work with what we have."
AEK coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer is still confident his side can progress but feels they missed a chance to put themselves in a stronger position during the game at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium. "We are confident for the second leg despite Sevilla being superior but with a match to go we will see what happens. We have to realise this is a short competition and that we have to concentrate during the full 90 minutes of a game. We were doing a good job - Sevilla were struggling and uneasy about their game. Just before half-time we could have opened the scoring but went from a possible 0-1 to a 1-0 and the second goal was a result of naivety." The second leg takes place in Athens on 28 August.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.