Two second-half goals against KRC Genk in Belgium sent the Russian top flight's bottom team FC Anji Makhachkala past KRC Genk but Olexandr Aliyev, who scored the second, said: "I am not the hero – the whole team is."
While Rasim Tagirbekov looked forward to a UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie with AZ Alkmaar – whom Anji beat 5-0 away in last season's play-offs – Genk defender Jeroen Simaeys rued the "stupid goals we conceded" but added he would look back with pride on their European campaign.
Olexandr Aliyev, Anji midfielder
I am happy but I am not the hero – the whole team are. Not only the players, but also the whole staff, including the masseur. We had excellent preparations during our training camp in Turkey, so this win was gained by the whole group we work together with.
I didn't think Genk played differently under their new coach [Emilio Ferrera] from the first match, because I only pay attention to my own team's display. I am very happy we reached the next stage in Europe. And not only for that, but also for our position in the Russian league – this is good for our confidence and will help us to be stronger for the rest of the season.
Rasim Tagirbekov, Anji defender
We resisted Genk's attacks throughout and everything we did was via counterattacks – that is how we scored two goals. We hoped for this result. They controlled the game but we created more danger – which is why we won. In the first leg [0-0] we also created some chances.
We are delighted we are through to the Europa League round of 16 and I hope we will still be there after the next round too. AZ Alkmaar will be a big game, a tough game. We played against them in the Europa League a year ago and we won 5-0 in Holland, but then we had the team with all the stars. I hope this time we will also be able to win.
Jeroen Simaeys, Genk defender
We played well but in the end we gave it away ourselves because of those stupid goals we conceded. How can that be? I have no idea. After the first goal we did not have any other option than to attack, but then the second goal came and it was all over. They were certainly not playing any better than we were. We had the match under control but could not create any big chances to score. This is a real shame because there was more in it for us.
Right now it is very sour, but if you ask me in a month or so then I will admit I will look back on this Europa League campaign in a positive way. If before the season someone had said we would come this far, I would have signed up for that.
Emilio Ferrera, Genk coach
Anji are through and they deserve it. The Russians had a lot more chances to score than we did and they defended very well. We just could not create an opening in their defence. I saw a lot of good desire and intensity in my team, but there is a lack of confidence and that is what you look back on in certain phases in a match.
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