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Juventus praise Lyon effort

Published: Friday 11 April 2014, 9.00CET
Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah admitted Olympique Lyonnais tested Juventus before a 2-1 win that allows Giorgio Chiellini to dream of the Turin final on 14 May.
by Paolo Menicucci
from Juventus Stadium

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Published: Friday 11 April 2014, 9.00CET

Juventus praise Lyon effort

Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah admitted Olympique Lyonnais tested Juventus before a 2-1 win that allows Giorgio Chiellini to dream of the Turin final on 14 May.

Juventus were proud to reach the UEFA Europa League semi-finals despite the challenge of an Olympique Lyonnais side who "worried us because they have young players who run a lot", midfielder Mauricio Isla told UEFA.com.

"We gave ourselves the right to believe, but now it's over," said Lyon forward Jimmy Briand, whose header cancelled out Andrea Pirlo's early free-kick before a late own goal gave Juve the victory and killed the hopes of the French team. Meanwhile, only one thing is on Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini's mind – "the final on 14 May" at the Juventus Stadium.

Mauricio Isla, Juventus midfielder
We are very happy to have reached the semi-finals. I think we started really well but then, after their goal, we sat back and didn't manage to play any more as we were doing in the first 20 minutes. We are very proud to have reached the semi-finals but we are also proud about our work, for our group and our coach. Now we have to focus on the next league game [against Udinese Calcio] and then we can start thinking about the semis.

Lyon worried us because they have good young players who run a lot. They play good football. As I said before, we started very well but then they began keeping possession and played well. Sevilla, Valencia, Benfica are all great sides, so for me it doesn't matter who we are going to face. I think the best four teams reached the semi-finals.

Kwadwo Asamoah, Juventus midfielder
Lyon played well, it was not easy for us, but it was important to qualify and we did it. After taking an early lead through Pirlo I think we slowed our tempo too much. We had some problems after their equaliser but I think we did well to keep calm and keep possession until we scored the second goal to kill the tie. It's not easy to play every three days but I think we did quite well and deserved to qualify.

Giorgio Chiellini, Juventus defender
We are very satisfied – on paper we were favourites but then you always have to confirm it on the pitch. Lyon gave their all in both legs and they troubled us tonight. However, we did well to score with the few chances we created. We did not play our usual football, especially in the second part of the first half, but overall I think we deserved to qualify.

Which side would I like to face in the semi-finals? The only thing I want is to play the final on 14 May – I want to play two more games in this stadium. This is a unique opportunity.

Jordan Ferri, Lyon midfielder
Well, of course we're disappointed because we've been eliminated, so it's normal, but I think we can still hold our heads high for the way we played these two games against a great side like Juventus. We had nothing to lose here. We knew we had to score a goal and that's what we aimed to do, but it wasn't enough unfortunately. I think right now we're just disappointed. Probably when it sinks in, we will realise what we have actually done and we will be proud.

Jimmy Briand, Lyon forward
I think we played the way we had to do in the first leg, but after that we came here and got back into the game with our goal, but sadly they then scored that goal which hurt us in the second half. I think we were up against a great side, but we held our own and played on a par with them. There wasn't any stage in the game where we collapsed.

Of course we have some regrets – like the goal we conceded in the first leg. Then we have some small regrets from today because we gave ourselves the right to believe, but now it's over. We had to score and we did that, and it gave us hope. We then needed to control the game better to have a little chance at the end, but Juve are a great team and we saw that tonight.

We're proud because we took this tournament seriously and earned the right to play matches like tonight, so it was magnificent. It gives us some ideas to start again next year.

Last updated: 16/04/14 17.22CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000472/match=2012673/postmatch/quotes/index.html#relief+juve

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