|I||Sparta Praha||19:00||H. Kiryat Shmona|
Club Atlético de Madrid goalscorers Diego Costa and Emre Belözoğlu were all smiles as they explained to UEFA.com the importance of maintaining their winning run in UEFA Europa League Group B. Meanwhile, A. Académica de Coimbra's John Ogu and Ricardo said they would do their best to achieve a better result when the teams meet again on 8 November.
Diego Costa, Atlético forward
The most important thing was the victory. It was a difficult game at times – Académica are a good team. We were patient tonight as we knew we were going to score at some point. In the end, the opener came from a dead-ball situation that we have been practising for a while.
This run we are on is the result of a lot of hard work. We are keeping our feet on the ground as we know there is a long way to go in the season. Our objective is to be first in the group and avoid playing certain teams, I'm not saying avoid the weaker ones, but teams that might present more difficulties. We are holders of this trophy and as such it is important that we look to finish first in the group.
Emre Belözoğlu, Atlético midfielder
I am leaving here very happy because I scored for the first time in an Atlético shirt. We have a very good team. We had won our last two games in the group and we wanted to win today as well. We played very well in the first half. In the second half we started fantastically and scored two goals. I think we are now very close to qualifying. Last year we won the UEFA Europa League and now we want to do so again. I have great team-mates.
John Ogu, Académica midfielder
We were playing against a better side in Atlético. We had a plan when we came here and we wanted to try to get a point. Things didn't turn out as we had hoped and we are going back to Coimbra where we will prepare for our next league game. We will look to move on from there.
This is the kind of competition that every footballer wants to play in. It feels great personally just to be part of it. I hope we can have better results in the future. We'll take the next game against Atlético as it comes. We hope we can repay our fans in some way. In football anything is possible so we could even get a win against them. We are playing at home and with the backing of our supporters we believe we can do it. It's wonderful to play against a big team like Atlético.
Ricardo, Académica goalkeeper
We didn't have the ball in the first half but, despite that, Atlético didn't cause us that many problems. After the break they settled the game from two dead-ball situations. We kept fighting and scored a goal and were close to getting a second but that's football. Atlético's experience in Europe proved decisive. We knew this match would be decided by small details. We will try to win the next one at home.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.