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Smith proud of Leinster & Munster feat

Gerry Smith reflected on "a fantastic comeback" after Leinster & Munster clawed back a 1-0 deficit to beat South Region Russia and book their place in Tuesday's UEFA Regions' Cup final.

Gerry Smith (right) joins his players in celebrating as Leinster & Munster reach the final
Gerry Smith (right) joins his players in celebrating as Leinster & Munster reach the final ©Sportsfile

Gerry Smith was delighted after his Leinster & Munster side overcame a slow start in Barcelos to beat South Region Russia 2-1 and qualify for the UEFA Regions' Cup final. However, the Russian outfit's boss, Oleg Sanko, could draw few positives from a match where his team's defensive frailties were exposed once more.

Leinster & Munster 2-1 South Region Russia

Gerry Smith, Leinster & Munster manager
It took us a while to get going. We weren't playing too badly at all but the temperature at the beginning was 36 degrees and we were struggling a bit with that. We couldn't wait for the half-time whistle to regroup. The second half we came out like we did against Serbia. It was a fantastic comeback to turn it around. When you can see the finishing line nerves can start to play on you. In fairness to the Russian team, they were playing for pride today, and sometimes when you are in that situation it can be more difficult. We knew what the prize was, and it was at least a bronze medal depending on how results went elsewhere, so you are so close and yet so far.

Oleg Sanko, South Region Russia coach
What can I say? We scored a goal but in the second half we were much worse than in the first. We could see that the Irish side had a will to win and they ultimately wanted it more. The two goals were both down to our mistakes. The second goal was a long ball that led to a one-on-one so you have to blame our central defenders. We would like Leinster & Munster to win the tournament now and we wish them the best of luck.