Marek Matějovský was agonisingly close to giving AC Sparta Praha a first-leg win over Liverpool FC but instead was left regretting "not taking our chances" after the 0-0 draw.
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AC Sparta Praha midfielder Marek Matějovský was frustrated by their 0-0 home draw with Liverpool FC – whose defender Danny Wilson confirmed a clean sheet in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first-leg tie had been their aim.
Chances were few at Stadion Letná last night, leaving Liverpool well placed for Thursday's Anfield return. Matějovský, who joined Sparta in the summer from Reading FC, certainly felt Sparta missed an opportunity. "I expected little bit more from them," the 29-year-old said. "They often held on to the ball in their own half and it looked as if their priority was to keep a clean sheet and rely on their home leg.
"If we had pressed a little bit more, we could have caused them more problems and hurt them more than we really did. On the other hand, we had to be also careful – if we'd offered them any space for counterattacks, they would have punished us."
Matějovský's only Premier League goal for Reading came against Liverpool and he might have repeated the trick if not for a crucial Sotiris Kyrgiakos intervention. "I had one good chance, it's a shame," Matějovský said. "I shot inside the penalty box, [Pepe] Reina went to the opposite side, but somebody blocked it before the line. I was disappointed. To score a goal against Liverpool would be a great thing for me. We had some other good opportunities, but weren't lucky enough. Not taking our chances is the only thing which we can regret today."
Making only his fourth appearance for Liverpool at left-back, defender Wilson believes the draw sets Kenny Dalglish's team up well for next week. "We came away with a good result to take back to Anfield and hopefully we can do a job next week," the 19-year-old Scottish international said. "I've not played in two months since the Utrecht game [on Matchday 6] so to get any game would have been good and I got the nod tonight. A defender is always happy with a clean sheet."
Wilson added that the onus would be on Liverpool to "take the game" to Sparta in the second leg, and Matějovský is in no doubt about that. "The rematch at Anfield will definitely be completely different," the former Czech Republic midfielder said. "I know that, because I played there with Reading. They are much stronger with the support of their incredible fans behind them. They will play different tactics, they will attack more. We have to stay confident, we have nothing to lose. They will be under pressure. We will be ready."