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"He's a hero," said Elyaniv Barda of KRC Genk goalkeeper László Köteles after the Hungarian saved Maccabi Haifa FC's first two shoot-out penalties to take the Belgian side into the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in nine years. Genk prevailed 2-1 in 90 minutes to force extra time and Vladimir Dvalishvili and Eyal Golasa were denied in the shoot-out before Daniel Pudil's decisive kick. For Thomas Buffel, who scored the winner just before the break, "this is a huge result not just for Genk but for Belgian football".
Elyaniv Barda, Genk striker
It was very important to see our keeper save their first two penalties, it gave our penalty-takers more confidence. It was weird for me to play against the team I helped become [Israeli] champions twice, but there was no sentiment on the pitch, only afterwards. It's a great feeling for us and cruel for them.
Thomas Buffel, Genk midfielder
We began well and pinned them back looking for the goal, but in the end I think both teams were tired after giving it everything. All in all we came back very well –
we could have been three or four down in the first leg before we scored. This is a huge result, not just for Genk but for Belgian football.
Seidu Yahaya, Maccabi Haifa midfielder
We're disappointed because we came here to win. We didn't start well, we were a bit slow, but we came back and took control of the game. We scored a perfect equaliser but we lost concentration and they quickly scored a second. We then had a few chances though didn't utilise them. That's football. Sometimes it happens this way.
Itzhak Cohen, Maccabi Haifa defender
We wanted to score an away goal, but it wasn't enough. Sometimes it's quality and sometimes it's luck; tonight it was luck. But we have a lot of talented young players in the team.
Next year, if we win the championship again, maybe we'll do it [qualify for the group stage] because of the extra experience.
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