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FC Zenit St. Petersburg coach Dick Advocaat said before their trip to FC BATE Borisov that the game would be pivotal for both teams' UEFA Champions League chances and reiterated that fact after Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny gave the Russian side a 2-0 win which takes them above their opponents into Group H third place. BATE's Viktor Goncharenko may now have only a slim chance of a knockout berth but remains optimistic as his team continue to break new ground for Belarus in this competition.
Viktor Goncharenko, BATE coach
Of course I feel some grief about the defeat. But the main thing is the experience we get in this matches and then to force each opponent to take us seriously. I cannot say that Zenit's performance surprised me as they played like that at FC Krylya Sovetov Samara in the Russian league recently, winning 3-0. If we had more experience we could have taken advantage when Zenit were down to ten men. Perhaps there was the danger of counterattacks against such a pacy team as Zenit and at the end we conceded another goal. But I say once again that we are gaining experience and looking into the future with much optimism.
Possibly we had too much respect for Zenit. I do not want to blame anybody, but if [Dmitri] Likhtarovich had made that tackle in the first half in Zenit's half we would not have conceded the first goal. It is not always the case that the team with the best statistics win. We probably had more possession today, made more passes and outplayed Zenit in some other areas, but the result is 2-0 to Zenit. That is football. Sometimes you are lucky and then fortune turns its back on you. We were a bit lucky in St Petersburg and got a draw, but today we lost when the game was equal.
Dick Advocaat, Zenit coach
I said yesterday that it would be a key game, that it would be very difficult for the losing team to come back while the winning team would still have the chance to do something. I am very pleased with the way we played, and especially with the win, though the group is still open. The key element in our victory was the timing of our goals.
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