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Defender Xandão hopes Sporting Clube de Portugal can seal a "historic qualification" for the quarter-finals in England next Thursday after scoring in his first ever UEFA Europa League start to earn the hosts a 1-0 first-leg lead against Manchester City FC. Roberto Mancini's men are far from despondent, however, and midfielder Nigel de Jong is backing his side to "seal the deal at home".
Xandão, Sporting defender
The credit for this victory goes to the whole team, including [Ricardo] Sá Pinto, who put the idea in our heads at the start of the week that we had the quality to beat City.
The team took the coach's instructions on board, especially the need to disturb City's transitions and mark aggressively.
We have to wait for the next game now and we're expecting it to be even tougher than this one. We're aware of City's quality, especially when they play at home. They'll try with everything they've got to score the goals they need. We know it's going to be a battle and a tremendously hard game, but we go there with no fear and we'll try to get a historic qualification for Sporting. I'm happy to have had the chance to score and I want to dedicate the goal to the women who are part of my life because today is International Women's Day.
Rui Patrício, Sporting goalkeeper
It was a very hard victory against an excellent team, but we managed to overcome all our difficulties and get the victory. The secret was our humility and how we all fought together. In the end, we were rewarded with the win. It's going to be very tough in the next game, but we're going to fight like we've done up until now with bravery and ambition, because our goal is to go through to the quarter-finals. City didn't underestimate us; we played excellently the whole game and we had wonderful support from our fans. They were spectacular and I want to dedicate this victory to them.
Kolo Touré, Manchester City defender
We were up against a team that were waiting for us to make a mistake and counterattack. Obviously, they had a free-kick and did well with it and we conceded the goal.
It was a really difficult game for us, but we have the second leg and we'll give it our all when at home. We didn't underestimate them at all. We came here wanting to win, but there are two legs and the most important thing is that we only conceded one goal.
Now we just need to go back and play the second game as if it's a final, and try to win it. We think it will be a tough game, definitely. Every time we play at home, we know we can score a lot of goals, but we'll have to work hard because this team defends very well – they showed that this evening – and they're really good on the counterattack.
Nigel de Jong, Manchester City midfielder
We're disappointed. It's an unnecessary loss, but we're confident we'll seal the deal at home. I think the tempo was too slow for us to really prise them apart. Luckily, we still have a game to go. Injuries are difficult in this stage of the season and we need everybody, but we have a big squad for a reason, so people can fill in for those who are out. We have to be 100% committed to our games with the players we've got. For us, the Europa League is as important as the Premier League, so we have two goals to go for this season.
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