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While captain David Jarolím expressed satisfaction that his second-half strike gives Hamburger SV a 3-1 advantage to take to Belgium, he could not ignore the nagging doubt created by RSC Anderlecht's away goal.
Hamburg seemed in complete control of their UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg when Joris Mathijsen and Ruud van Nistelrooy – on his first start for the club – put them two goals to the good with only 40 minutes gone. However, Jonathan Legear stroked in a sublime free-kick in first-half stoppage time to give Anderlecht a huge boost for next Thursday's return, and it was only Jarolím's 76th-minute volley that swung the tie firmly back in HSV's favour.
The Czech Republic midfielder said: "Overall we are content. It would have been a lot more useful without that goal against us but that is always the case in European football." After restoring his side's two-goal cushion, the 30-year-old thought HSV could have gone on to make the scoreline even more emphatic. "We had two or three chances to score a fourth goal, but unfortunately we didn't and that would have made a big difference."
Mladen Petrić, who partnered Van Nistelrooy up front, had a frustrating evening in front of goal, spurning a succession of good chances and while he agreed with his skipper, he was also grateful HSV fought off several late dangerous sorties by Ariël Jacobs's visitors. "It's a good result, but the goal against us is annoying," said the Croatian international. "We should have won by a bigger margin, but at the end of the match we had to work hard and focus to maintain our advantage."
Anderlecht skipper Olivier Deschacht bemoaned his side's mistakes at the back. "The result is there to see, but I don't think we deserve it," the Brussels side's captain said. "I think we gave three goals away – three times we were not sharp enough – and you pay cash for that." Like Petrić, Deschacht pinpointed the late pressure Anderlecht created as a key moment in the tie. "We had the chances to make it 3-2, we couldn't do it, but we don't give it up. Next week we have a home game and you never know."
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