FC BATE Borisov's Mateja Kežman rued the "disaster" of conceding a "cheap goal" in the 1-1 draw at FC Viktoria Plzeň but insisted all is not lost for the Belarusian champions.
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FC BATE Borisov forward Mateja Kežman told UEFA.com the Belarusian champions showed character in bouncing back from the "disaster" of conceding a goal just before the break to earn a point at FC Viktoria Plzeň. The hosts' Václav Pilař was left to rue his team's inability to add to their advantage, which cost the Czech title holders victory in their maiden UEFA Champions League group stage outing.
Václav Pilař, Plzeň midfielder
We were all looking forward to this. It was the first game in the competition for almost everyone in the team, and we had always wanted to play in the group stage alongside such good sides. I think we played well from the start, but then BATE started to dominate. At the end of the first half we scored, and that was a great boost. In the second half we wanted to keep that up, and create chances. We knew that if we could keep the score at 1-0 or even improve on it, BATE would have to open up. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get the second goal, and they punished us on the break. All in all, we played well, and with a bit of luck we could have won.
Marián Čišovský, Plzeň defender
We were leading 1-0, we were close to the three points, but our opponents played better in the second half. It's a pity we didn't win it, because we had taken the lead, and should've held onto it. They punished a mistake in front of goal. We were well prepared for them. We knew that they'd been playing in the group stages of European competitions in the last three years. We knew they were a strong team, and they showed that on the pitch. We weren't surprised by them; they played how we expected them to, it's just a pity that we didn't win.
Yegor Filipenko, BATE defender
I think the game was interesting for the supporters. It was an open game; we tried to attack, and our opponents tried to attack, too. We made a mistake just before half-time. It's always bad to concede such goals. At the break our coach told us to up our game. They didn't surprise us. They're a very good team, but we had analysed their game. They have good wide players that we had to close down, and I think we managed to do that. We're not thinking about the Barcelona game yet. We're focusing on the domestic league. We don't have a lot of time between games, and we first have to win our league matches.
Mateja Kežman, BATE forward
The point is important for us. When you look at the game, perhaps we deserved to win. We gave away a cheap goal in the last few seconds of the first half. It's always a disaster when you concede a goal like that, especially when you're the better side. We were in control, and had a couple of fantastic counterattacks. The goal came out of nothing, and we were very disappointed. But this squad is very strong, these guys have played together for a long time. We're playing at home against Barcelona next. You never know in football. They're perhaps the best team ever, but they have bad days, too. We just have to play our game. Third place is our objective, but Milan are also in the group, a team that always has ups and downs. We have to try and see if there's an opportunity to take second place.