"We've earned the fans' applause," said opening goalscorer Ricky van Wolfswinkel after ten-man Sporting Clube de Portugal clung on for a 2-1 Group D victory against S.S. Lazio.
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Ricky van Wolfswinkel felt Sporting Clube de Portugal had earned their fans' acclaim at the Estádio José Alvalade, the Netherlands forward scoring in his fifth successive match as the ten-man Lisbon side beat S.S. Lazio 2-1 in UEFA Europa League Group D. The Roman visitors, meanwhile, were aggrieved at securing everything but the second goal.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Sporting forward
After a win like this, the feeling is amazing. We started very well, scoring a goal, but couldn't hold Lazio back and allowed them to equalise. Then we were fortunate to see Emiliano Insúa get a wonderful goal; in football you need to be lucky. When he was sent off [on 50 minutes], we felt we did really well, because when you're a man down you need to work twice as hard.
My goal? I've been trying to score like that, and this time it worked out very well. I had a slow start to the season, but that only makes you want to work harder, and now we're playing very well. We will see where it ends, but we must keep this momentum.
We've earned the fans' applause. One man down, you really need the supporters, and they came through. I don't know how far we can go in this competition; we have showed we can play very well and if we keep on winning, who knows where this will end?
Daniel Carriço, Sporting defender
Winning is always good and we got a very important win tonight; it's very good to be top of the group with six points. The fans were behind us throughout the match and it was a wonderful footballing night, really. We won despite being down to ten men; it was exhausting but brilliant.
Hernanes, Lazio midfielder
We played well, although seeing them go down to ten men made our job easier. We created several chances, but failed to score; we achieved the impossible by missing so many shots. On current form, Sporting are deserved group leaders and clear favorites. They are a strong team and have every chance of finishing top of the group.
Lorik Cana, Lazio midfielder
Luck was not on our side. We proved we can play good football, now we just have to improve our composure when we have good chances. We wasted too many good opportunities. We played well, especially in the second half even if it was easier as Sporting were left with the men. However it's never easy to create as much as we did, only goal was missing.
I'm happy that the other game in the group ended in a draw as we can still hope in the qualification. If we keep working hard, I'm sure the three points will arrive in the next game.