Real Sociedad de Fútbol coach Raynald Denoueix is eagerly anticipating the draw for the last 16.
Real Sociedad de Fútbol coach Raynald Denoueix was in the happy position of pondering who he would like to meet in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League after his side had held Galatasaray SK to a 1-1 draw at the Anoeta to book their place in the knockout stages behind Group D winners Juventus FC.
'Important to win'
The final whistle brought immense relief for the French coach whose side are languishing in the Primera División's relegation zone and Denoueix said: "It was important to win tonight because of our position in the domestic league."
Denoueix, a Champions League veteran with FC Nantes Atlantique, will look towards Friday's draw with immense satisfaction, but asks only that Real be kept away from French opposition. "All the teams in the last 16 are very good but
I would prefer to play an English or Italian team just for a change of venue," he said. Perhaps looking ahead to the latter stages, he added: "When you play in Europe you don't want to play against teams from your own country."
With French sides AS Monaco FC and Olympique Lyonnais both through and, from Spain, Deportivo La Coruña, Real Madrid CF and RC Celta de Vigo also all in the frame for a quarter-final place, Denoueix cannot expect to avoid a club from either country for long. But after watching his side come through a difficult test tonight, he will approach the next round with confidence.
Replacements answer call
Denoueix made three changes to the side that had drawn 2-2 with Olympiacos CFP on Matchday 5 and all three new faces played a crucial part in earning the draw that took Real through at Galatasaray's expense. Oscar De Paula Gamero replaced the suspended Darko Kovacevic and scored the crucial equalising goal on 51 minutes. "He played a very intelligent game," Denoueix said of his striker.
With the score at 1-1 Real were on course for a place in the next round, but a Galatasaray goal would have sent the Turkish side through in their place and it was the two other replacements that saved the day.
In the heart of defence Bjørn Tore Kvarme had been brought into the side in place of Igor Jauregi and it was his crucial block on the Arif Erdem with 13 minutes to play that kept the scoreline level. In added time, the goalkeeper, Alberto López, in for the injured Sander Westerveld, saved bravely from Ovidiu Petre to earn the draw. "It's not been easy for me," he said. "But the most important thing for me is always to be ready for the next match."
Real should really have made the match safe long before the final whistle, but a combination of nerves and poor finishing kept Galatasaray in the hunt. Surprisingly, given Real's relentless pressure, the Turkish side even led for 25 minutes following Hakan Sükür's 26th minute opener from his side's only chance of the half. "We wasted so many chances," Real's Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci conceded. "
It should never have been so close."
'Future is long'
Galatasaray came into the match needing a win to reach the last 16, but ultimately coach Fatih Terim was grateful to finish third and earn a UEFA Cup place at Olympiacos' expense. "We wanted to wait in our half and try to score on the break," he said. "We managed that, but their goal was very simple - it was our mistake. But we have qualified [for the UEFA Cup] and the future is long. Galatasaray will never give up battling."