Miroslav Stoch's first goal in 16 months gave PAOK FC a 1-1 draw at FC Schalke 04 and he credited a half-time pep talk from Huub Stevens that left the German side frustrated.
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After scoring a vital away goal – his first for 16 months – in PAOK FC's UEFA Champions League play-off first-leg 1-1 draw at FC Schalke 04, Miroslav Stoch told UEFA.com the onus is now on the visitors in Tuesday's return at the Stadio Toumba. Meanwhile, Schalke's players attempted to find the positives after squandering what had looked to be a promising first-half lead on home turf.
Miroslav Stoch, PAOK forward
It's a good result but we're only halfway there. We played badly in the first half, we were completely out of position, but at half-time the coach explained to everyone what they had to do and we saw the difference in the second half.
I felt I had the advantage one-on-one so I cut inside and tried to shoot. At the last second I could see their keeper was a little too close to his near post so I tried to aim for the far post and it turned out to be a good decision.
It's great [that we're one game away from the group stage], even if we were a bit lucky that Metalist were disqualified but that's football – anything can happen and now we've got a chance. This first result is a good one. Schalke are under pressure now and have to score, so let's wait and see.
Ádám Szalai, Schalke forward
I don't think we should look at this result too negatively. I was delighted to get the chance to play. I tried to do my best and work hard for the team and obviously I was hoping to win the match. Sadly, it didn't work out that way but we've still got the second leg to come and anything is possible.
We need to look at the positives. It finished 1-1 and we still have the second leg. If we start talking negatively then it's going to be difficult to produce a performance in the second leg and qualify. Obviously, it wasn't the result we were hoping for, but we're determined to go through.
Max Meyer, Schalke midfielder
We played really well in the first half, pinning our opponents back in their own half, creating some really good chances and deservedly taking the lead. We went down a gear in the second half, though, and they scored with their first chance, which was a bitter pill for us.
We've still got the return leg and anything is possible. We just need to repeat our first-half performance in Salonika and we'll win the game.