Elation and pride were the overriding emotions for Antonio Adán, Léo Baptistão and Salvador Sevilla after they helped Real Betis Balompié record a 2-0 away win in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie against city rivals Sevilla FC.
Opposing midfielders Ivan Rakitić and Vicente Iborra offered a more sobering assessment, though both emphasised their belief that – should Unai Emery's side improve their wayward finishing – turning the tie around next week is not impossible.
Antonio Adán, Betis goalkeeper
We all played a fantastic game. The lads up front and all the way through the team defended really well. We've got a very clear idea of how we want to do things, which is how it's been for a few games now, and we had that again today. I was fortunate enough to be able to help the team by keeping a clean sheet, which is important for the return leg. I'm very happy, not just for me personally, but for the whole team.
I'm enjoying my football – I needed to find a place where I would play every game. Here they showed faith in what I could do and I'm really pleased to be able to repay that, and at such a great club. We knew it was a historic game and all the responsibility that goes with it, but we went out with the attitude and focus you need for a match like this.
It was an incredible game, the best you're likely to see nowadays in Spain. Seville is an incredible city and here they live football in an amazing way, but if it's possible, next week's game is going to be even more incredible as we'll have our fans behind us and we can really enjoy ourselves.
Ivan Rakitić, Sevilla midfielder and captain
In the first half we put in a pretty complete performance and that's when, normally, you'd expect us to open the scoring. We had several chances and didn't take them, but that's football and it's not as easy as it looks. We're going to keep believing in ourselves, get our heads up and really go for it in the second leg. We needed to be more clinical today, because if we'd been able to score first it might have been a different game. We now need to keep believing and know it is possible to turn things around in the return match.
Léo Baptistão, Betis forward and goalscorer
I'm really pleased. I'm very happy to have scored, but much more so for having won my first [Seville] derby. We've made history in this city's first European derby. We didn't have many chances, but we took the ones we got. Sevilla came up against a great keeper in Adán, who put in an impressive performance, and the effort the whole team put in bore fruit. We know how good a keeper we have in our side, we're very pleased to have him and that's what matters.
Salvador Sevilla, Betis midfielder and goalscorer
That couldn't have gone better, but there are still 90 minutes to play at our ground and it won't be easy. We have to stay composed and keep our feet on the ground because we're up against a great team with quality players who are capable of scoring and giving us a rough ride. The way I play is to try and get hold of the ball between midfield and attack, slow the game down a bit and try to launch counterattacks. And it was from one of them that the goal came. It was immensely satisfying because we did a great job over the 90 minutes: a real team effort.
It [scoring in a derby] is very special. It's the ultimate because these kind of games go down in history. I'm very happy, but I never look at things as an individual – instead I'm focusing on the team, which has got a great result to take into the second leg.
Vicente Iborra, Sevilla midfielder
There's disappointment in the dressing room because it wasn't the result we were hoping for, but there's still the second leg to go and we're capable of turning it round. They scored with the first chance they had, and they didn't have many. They barely threatened, but football's like that sometimes. We kept going right to the end, we created chances, attacked and showed energy, but the ball wouldn't go in. On another day it will go in, though, so let's hope that happens on Sunday [in the Liga] and on Thursday [in the second leg].
The key to this match was our finishing. When you don't score, time ticks away and the opposition gets more comfortable, so it becomes very hard. I'll be nervous next Thursday [a yellow card means he misses the return through suspension], but I'll keep supporting my team-mates who I know can make it happen.
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