Despite defeating Juventus FC, the RC Deportivo La Coruña coach and players felt it could have been more.
By Graham Hunter in La Coruna
It was an indication of how confident RC Deportivo La Coruña feel about their current form that coach Javier Irureta was left lamenting that his team only beat Juventus FC 1-0 at the Riazor in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout-round tie.
The Deportivo coach had the satisfaction of seeing his team dominate an encounter sealed by a solitary goal from Albert Luque, whose row with Irureta dominated the build-up to the match. But Irureta complained about his side's lack of accuracy in front of goal and conceded the fact that what will be a difficult second leg in Turin could have been made more straightforward.
"Winning 1-0 is quite a tight scoreline given the control of the match that I think we enjoyed," Irureta said. "My team created the chances but lacked the accuracy but I want to underline the fact that this, in addition to our last five [Primera División] matches, now makes it six games since we conceded a goal. But playing in Turin will be difficult - in fact I would say that it will be like playing the final itself."
Víctor Sánchez, one of the stars of the night, added: "
We would all have taken a 1-0 before the game but now we feel that we should have won more decisively." But Irureta's players have clearly benefited from their run of four consecutive seasons playing against Juventus and no longer feel intimidated by the prospect of defending a lead at the Stadio Delle Alpi.
Lionel Scaloni, the South American creator of Luque's goal, said: "We will go to Turin with real confidence. If we score there we will go through because I do not believe that Juventus will score three times against us."
The Spanish side were not the only ones to miss chances - Juventus were also surprisingly lax, with Fabrizio Miccoli and Alessandro Del Piero spurning relatively simple chances in the second half. "I'm very disappointed that I did not score such a good chance and I said sorry to the guys after the game," said Miccoli.
Del Piero was more upbeat but added: "
Juventus did not play well tonight and we knew just what to expect from Deportivo. I think that we will need to be a great Juventus in the return leg in order to go to the quarter-finals."
Juventus suffered two key injuries, with Paolo Montero needing further examination on a suspected groin strain and David Trezeguet nursing a shoulder injury which coach Marcello Lippi said will "need two to three weeks to heal". But Lippi insisted: "It will be a completely different match in the return leg.
"Deportivo succeeded in pushing us back because we did not come here to defend. We certainly made errors in the first half but our second half was much better and the result allows us real hope for the next leg."
Juventus midfield player Stephen Appiah is another man convinced the Delle Alpi crowd will prove decisive. "The atmosphere and their performance here went hand in hand," he said. "But it will be our turn in Turin and our fans will definitely inspire us to go through."
Amstel Man of the Match: Alberto Luque
Deportivo's Luque has been selected as the Amstel Man of the Match voted by uefa.com users. He garnered 38 per cent of the vote for a display capped with the game's only goal.