APOEL and Ajax lament missed opportunity

APOEL FC coach Giorgos Donis and AFC Ajax's Frank de Boer each felt victory might have been theirs, Gustavo Manduca adding: "One point is not bad but we deserved more."

Man of the match as APOEL FC drew 1-1 with AFC Ajax, Gustavo Manduca, told UEFA.com “we felt we could have won the game".

Both coaches feel their side deserved to win after APOEL and Ajax draw
Home boss Giorgos Donis praises his improving team
Frank de Boer still confident Dutch champions can progress from Group F
Gustavo Manduca: "One point is not bad but we felt we deserved better"
Next games: APOEL v Paris, Barcelona v Ajax (21 October)

Giorgos Donis, APOEL coach
I always believe that there is no such thing as a fair result, just who scores more goals. In football, if you score you win. At this level and against such a big club, when you get such big chances to score and you don't, you cannot be happy. We intended to let them have possession. We are not fit enough to press high and all over the pitch. The game went the way we wanted it to go.

Barcelona, PSG and Ajax need to think about their qualifying prospects. Not us. Our target was to get to the group stage and now we want to perform well in every game. Our starting XI is the same group of players from last season with the exception of Carlão. They have all improved as we saw against Barcelona and now tonight.

I was sure that it would surprise him [Frank de Boer] that we were playing long balls at times. I saw the Ajax games against FC Salzburg [in the UEFA Europa League last season] who played with long balls and the first game they won 3-0 and the second 3-1. Even though it is not our usual style, we wanted to use long balls against them.

Manduca: APOEL could have won
Manduca: APOEL could have won

Frank de Boer, Ajax coach
We have to take our chances if we want to move into the next round. This is the reality of top-level football. Things are still open in this group, the pressure is also on Barcelona now. We have to play well in our next games to get the right results. I told my players after the match that if we play like we did tonight in our remaining games, then I am convinced that every opponent will have a difficult night against Ajax.

We struggled at times with the long balls from APOEL. I am surprised that APOEL sat back because they usually do most of the attacking in their own stadium. We put pressure on them and my players played well enough to deserve more than just a point. In the end, you need to score if you want to achieve your target. We need to take our chances but we also need a bit of luck. We need to play well against Barcelona and we need more points.

Gustavo Manduca, APOEL forward
Ajax started aggressively in the game and [forced us] back. But afterwards we did well. One point is not bad, but we felt we deserved better. If we look at the opportunities to score, I think we had more – we came closer to a second goal than Ajax. So the result is not good for us, but anyway we have to continue to work hard and look ahead.

I would like to enjoy this kind of game [against Paris Saint-Germain]. It is not easy, you have to work hard, run a lot, but it's a pleasure to play against these big players, it is a motivation for us. Every game is a different story. They are really very good, but they are human as well, they can make mistakes, they have two legs like us. So, maybe in name they are much much better, but on the pitch it's 11 against 11. We respect them and we will continue like this.

Urko Pardo, APOEL goalkeeper
It was a tough game. We knew we were up against a good side with quality young players. We did a good job and, had we converted one of our chances, we would have clinched the win. We had some opportunities, so did they.

Gustavo Manduca enjoys his goal
Gustavo Manduca enjoys his goal©AFP/Getty Images

Marios Antoniades, APOEL defender
We young players can gain experience from matches like this. We have nothing to lose. The pace and the rhythm is completely different from the Cypriot league, but we proved we are up to the task and will try to exploit even the slightest hope of qualifying. We are disappointed because we missed two very good chances to score at the end.

Lasse Schöne, Ajax midfielder
We are a bit disappointed – we deserved the three points. We were the better team. We started well, scored a good goal and had the lead. We knew that the crowd would quieten down, but in two minutes they equalised.

Of course we can always improve, but the way we played is the way we need to continue playing. We had a lot of problems but if continue on the same path and believe in ourselves we can have quite good games against Barcelona. Last year of course we had a great home game and won, so we believe [in ourselves]. I think we can get a good result.

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