Real Madrid relieved as Ludogorets look ahead
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
The relief was palpable for Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo as they credited Real Madrid CF for grinding out victory against a tough PFC Ludogorets Razgrad side.
Article top media content
• Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo admit it was "a tough challenge"
• Ludogorets players and coach say they did not deserve to lose
• Ronaldo hails the crowd in Sofia, saying they gave the hosts "extra energy"
• Madrid recover to win 2-1 despite Cristiano Ronaldo having a penalty saved
• Next games: Ludogorets v Basel, Liverpool v Madrid (22 October)
Karim Benzema, Madrid forward
For me it was a good game, against a good side. Ludogorets showed lot of intensity in the match, so it was difficult to start with, but then we all worked together, pushed until the very end and managed to score to win the game.
They showed a lot of intensity but we didn't give anything away. The most important thing was to win. Ludogorets played well, they're a good side. They played well at home, cheered on by their supporters. It was a difficult game. We need to keep going, as we've done since the beginning, give nothing away and win all we can.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid forward
They are a good team and with their fans behind them they got extra energy. It's really important that we won this game, but it was a tough challenge. Games like these happen and big teams must find an answer to such situations. I think we showed tonight we are one of them.
But there is no perfect team in the world and so you always have to be focused – especially in the UEFA Champions League. I think it's a deserved win. We had a lot of chances and they had not so many good ones. As Liverpool lost today this win could be a big moment.
Georgi Dermendzhiev, Ludogorets coach
Of course I am disappointed, but not that much. We could have have earned a draw based on what we did on the pitch. We played bravely, with courage and with no fear against the reigning European champions. We played as equals to Real and I am delighted with our performance.
I just learned the result in the other game [Basel beating Liverpool]. It is football, everything could happen. The group will be tough, all three teams [Liverpool, Basel and Ludogorets] may even fight for second spot.
Carlo Ancelotti, Madrid coach
We played well and showed good intensity. We created many chances, we should have scored earlier. Ludogorets played aggressive football, we saw that at Anfield too.They were fast and counterattacked well. I wanted to rest players like Kroos, James [Rodríguez] and Karim [Benzema], who play more minutes, and at the same time I wanted to motivate players who do not play that much.
Iker Casillas, Madrid goalkeeper
We knew it would be difficult and so it proved. They scored with their first chance and took the lead. We had to fight hard to turn things around. I am happy with the result, to have achieved this win. We have taken another step towards making it to the next round. Liverpool … will be a big match. For them it is vital to win if they still want to make the top two and make it to the next round.
Sergio Ramos, Madrid defender
It was an extraordinary match, no doubt. There are no small teams in this competition and it was very complicated for us to get into this game. Teams like Ludogorets put their lives on the line in these matches, which makes it very hard – especially if they score first.
But we had our game plan, we followed it and were rewarded for our patience in the end. Our situation in the group was good before this match and it's even better now. We can be satisfied with the outcome, but it wasn't easy.
Mihail Alexandrov, Ludogorets midfielder
It is hard for us to leave empty-handed – we didn't deserve to lose. I have had my greatest career moments in this stadium and today was another. We were up against the best team in the world, in our own country. It was a big night for all of Bulgaria.
The second penalty was the key moment of this match but I think we showed once again that we are a good team. We are probably not the best team in our group but we'll keep on giving our all to stay in Europe as long as possible.
Marcelinho, Ludogorets midfielder
We started really well and caused them a lot of problems. In comparison to Real Madrid we are a tiny club, almost nothing, and many people didn't know us until today. I'm disappointed we couldn't make the really big step but we put on a great show against the best team in the world. It was a dream come true.
Now we have to prepare well for the Basel match. If we play like today we can definitely beat them.