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German sides off to a flyer

Published: Friday 22 October 2004, 11.20CET rounds up the reaction from Groups E-H, which included wins for VfB Stuttgart and TSV Alemannia Aachen.
Published: Friday 22 October 2004, 11.20CET

German sides off to a flyer rounds up the reaction from Groups E-H, which included wins for VfB Stuttgart and TSV Alemannia Aachen.

The leaders of the German, Portuguese and Russian top flights were among the six teams from Groups E to H to enjoy a winning opening night as the UEFA Cup group stage kicked off. rounds up the reaction.

Group E
Egaleo FC 0-1 Middlesbrough FC
The result's not necessarily the most important thing for us as our ambition is to play well against opposition such as Middlesbrough who have very good players. We want to use these matches to gain experience as the Greek league is our main concern. In Europe we are playing to enjoy ourselves. Egaleo midfielder Georgios Alexopoulos

It was a good goal, I was just pleased to get on and play my part. To play in the UEFA Cup at my age is great, I'm only young and it's fantastic experience. I've played a couple of games recently, but the manager decided to rest me tonight and I have to respect that. I hope there's plenty more goals like that to come. Middlesbrough scorer Stewart Downing

S.S. Lazio 1-1 Villarreal CF
We were not good enough in the first half and could do nothing to disrupt their possession. We were more aggressive after the break and caused more trouble for Villarreal. I think we deserved a draw but I don't want to see my team playing like they did in the first half again. Lazio coach Domenico Caso

I have to feel pleased because we went into the match with just one striker available and he wasn't in peak condition. Furthermore we had four lads from the youth team and then played for the final 15 minutes with one man less. José Mari's expulsion was a key factor because it means that we won't be able to play him in our next match, which is at home. Likewise we will also be without Battaglia. But in general terms I am satisfied. Villarreal coach Manuel Luis Pelligrini

Group F
KS Amica Wronki 0-5 Rangers FC
We didn't start badly and early on there wasn't much to suggest that the game would end up as it did. Rangers deserved to win and it is a very important lesson for my team. This result shows what level we are at in Europe compared with Rangers. Amica coach Maciej Skorža

I'm delighted. First and foremost we wanted to get three points, and to score goals as well was a bonus. It was a fantastic performance. We're happy to have won the game but to have scored five goals, all by different players, is very good also. The team work was very good. Rangers manager Alex McLeish

AJ Auxerre 0-0 Grazer AK
I'm not satisfied because in this mini-league a home draw is a very bad thing. However, we faced a good team from Austria and the game was tight but played fairly. Auxerre coach Guy Roux

I'm obviously very happy with how my team performed because we managed to hold one of the best teams in France. The point puts us in a healthy position with two home games to come. GAK coach Walter Schachner

Group G
KSK Beveren 1-5 VfB Stuttgart
We knew beforehand how strong Stuttgart are - they should be playing in the Champions League not the UEFA Cup. In Cacau, Kuranyi and Hleb they have three quality attacking players and it's no coincidence that they're leading the Bundesliga. I'm not shocked at losing, although the scoreline is a bit exaggerated.
Beveren coach Herman Helleputte

I'm glad that we won and played so bravely and effectively. I'm also impressed that our opponent kept on playing until the end. On the other hand, I wasn't satisfied with our play in the period between the first and second goals as we did not concentrate enough. Kuranyi moved well, he's returned from injury quicker than I thought. Stuttgart coach Matthias Sammer

SL Benfica 4-2 SC Heerenveen
My players did a wonderful job in the first half, showing great determination, and we deserved to win this match. I told the players at half-time to maintain those levels but two mistakes allowed Heerenveen to draw level. Karadas then proved very influential when he entered the game. Benfica coach Giovanni Trapattoni

Benfica have great individual talent and a collective spirit and they played very well on the counterattack. We played better in the second half and drew level but we couldn't do enough to win the game. Heerenveen coach Gertjan Verbeek

Group H
TSV Alemannia Aachen 1-0 LOSC Lille Métropole
To be honest, I had some doubts before the match as to whether we could beat this team as they've been playing superbly in France. We decided in advance not to play on the counterattack but to be offensive, and it worked. Aachen coach Dieter Hecking

The build-up to this game led some people to believe that we would be playing second division opposition. I knew that this wasn't the case. This team are at the top of the 2. Bundesliga and they score three or four goals a game. They've got experience, and are tricky and aggressive. Now we have to win at home against Zenit who lead the Russian league. Lille coach Claude Puel

FC Zenit St. Peterburg 5-1 AEK Athens FC
Nothing went our way in the first half. There was no flowing football, even from our experienced players. But gradually the team started to play - the strikers clicked and the defence stopped making mistakes. And in the second half there was only one team in it. Zenit coach Vlastimil Petrzela

We did exactly what we had to do in the first half against strong opposition. We played really well only to concede right before the break. After losing the second goal early in the second half, Zenit were much better than us from that point and scored one goal after the other. Zenit are a tremendous side, I know it now and I knew it before. We've only ourselves to blame for we stopped holding our defensive line. AEK coach Fernando Santos




Last updated: 22/10/04 13.58CET

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