AZ Alkmaar coach Co Adriaanse lamented a missed opportunity as Sporting Clube de Portugal won through.
Co Adriaanse, Alkmaar coach
This was a really top match. We gave everything and really entertained our fans. I thought we had a place in the final sewn up. With only half a minute left they were desperate and even sent their goalkeeper up front for that final corner. And then, from what I heard from my players, the ball hit Garcia on his left shoulder blade, went between the defender's legs and then into the goal. This time we aren't speaking about the hand of God, but of the shoulder of God.
This really is traumatic. I think all the players and the whole staff have experienced the same thing as the Dutch [FIFA] World Cup trauma of 1974. This is the drama of Liberation Day. This is something you will never forget, and will take with you to the grave. When you ask me, "Aren't you proud of getting so far," I say, "It doesn't count any more now." We should have been in the final. We had the chance to decide it in normal time, it is really unbelievable to get knocked out. It seems typically Dutch. It happened to PSV in Milan and Eindhoven, and to us right before half-time and at the end. It is just not good enough. Now I wish Sporting all the best and success. They are still a terrific side. We now are fans of Sporting, but only until the final is over.
José Peseiro, Sporting coach
Compliments to AZ first of all. They made it extremely hard and made us suffer, although luckily it was us who reached the final with our late goal. We never stopped believing and that's what brought us victory over the two matches. I have watched two fantastic matches between two terrific teams and can now look forward to my first UEFA Cup final. It's also the first for the team, the club, the people who work hard behind the scenes every day.
But we shouldn't forget that we haven't won anything yet. It's not automatically an advantage to play at home - look at [UEFA] EURO 2004™ when Portugal were beaten by Greece. Hopefully now we have come so far the whole nation will get behind us. However, we were a bit lucky. As AZ are from such a small town, it's a huge credit to them how well they've performed.