Kevin Kuranyi was proud that FC Schalke 04 reached their first quarter-final after a shoot-out, but conceded FC Porto had "played the better football" on the night.
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Kevin Kuranyi believes FC Schalke 04's first-leg win in Gelsenkirchen was crucial as they beat FC Porto on penalties in Portugal to reach their first UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
Kuranyi's early goal in Gelsenkirchen gave the German giants a slender lead to take to the return leg, and although Lisandro López levelled at the Estádio do Dragão, Schalke weathered heavy pressure from the Portuguese champions to progress on penalties. "We played a good game in the home leg, and managed to get ourselves 1-0 ahead," he told uefa.com. "We knew it would be difficult to defend that, but we kept our cohesion, kept our spirits up, fought hard and we're happy with what we've achieved."
The German international was unwilling to take too much credit for his first-leg strike, saying that it was merely the start of Schalke's labours over the two games. "I was happy to score the goal in the first game of course, but we still had to come here and play," he said. "The overall result was the most important thing and it was a great team effort."
The 26-year-old, who boasts an impressive 18 goals in UEFA club competition, admitted that Mirko Slomka's team had been pushed to the absolute limit by their hosts. "Porto showed what quality they have and played well," Kuranyi admitted. "They played the better football tonight but thankfully we had a bit of luck and managed to get through."
His captain Marcelo Bordon agreed with the striker's assessment. "They have so many good players with different qualities - dangerous players who can pose different problems - that it's difficult to pick out just one in particular," said the Brazilian. Bordon admitted that the famously frugal Schalke defence had endured one of their toughest nights. "They put us under a lot of pressure, and to concede a goal in the 86th minute was hard," he said. "It was difficult to just defend and defend for more than an hour, it can be dangerous trying to defend a lead. But I feel very good now we're through."
Meanwhile Bordon's compatriot Rafinha was thankful for his goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's outstanding performance. "Well done to him - he played a really great game," said the full-back of the youngster who saved twice in the shoot-out. "Now there are eight teams left in it, and we're one of them, so we have a chance. Anyone can get into the final from here."