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Striker Eljero Elia said anger proved to be a great motivator for Hamburger SV as they recovered from going 2-0 down at PSV Eindhoven to score two crucial away goals and claim a UEFA Europa League round of 16 place, despite a 3-2 defeat on the night.
A goal up from the first leg in Germany, a second-minute Ola Toivonen strike and Balász Dzsudzsák's effort on 43 minutes sent them in at the break 2-1 down on aggregate. "It was a crazy match, and we were chasing shadows right away," said former FC Twente player Elia. "Going into the dressing room two down at half-time made us angry. We knew we had to score quickly after the restart, in whatever way possible, but we didn't expect to do it so quickly and with such a good goal."
The scorer of that effort, lone striker Mladen Petrić, agreed that his side's plans had been messed up almost immediately. "We were sleeping when they took the lead, and right away our advantage from the first leg was gone," commented the 29-year-old Croatian. "It was only after we scored our first that we started getting some belief back."
Dutch winger Elia, returning to his homeland for the first time with Hamburg, was unsurprisingly delighted with the experience. "It was extra special for me because I came up against my old trainer [Fred Rutten], and there were plenty of familiar faces around."
Danny Koevermans, whose last-gasp goal brought his side agonisingly close to a place in the last 16, was understandably less enthusiastic about the evening's proceedings. "We missed the chance to defeat a top German side," he told UEFA.com. "Over the 180 minutes we were probably the better team, but that doesn't mean we return home tonight with a feeling of pride. We just wanted to go through to the next round. It's about eliminating your opponent, and we didn't manage to do that."
Instead, it is Hamburg who will face RSC Anderlecht for a place in the last eight next month. "To be honest, we don't know much about them," said Petrić. "We have a big game this weekend against [FC] Bayern München, and only after that will we start thinking about our next opponents." Elia, however, was prepared to look further ahead. "The dream is still alive," explained the 23-year-old. "We obviously want to get to the final in our own stadium and it's still a possibility. We fought hard as a team and that, together with a bit of luck, saw us through."
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