Stoke City FC scorer Kenwyne Jones said his equaliser was better late than never as he hailed the Potters' achievement in qualifying for the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League.
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Stoke City FC's qualification for the knockout stage of the UEFA Europa League is a "massive thing" for the English club according to striker Kenwyne Jones, scorer of the goal that got the point they needed to progress against FC Dynamo Kyiv.
Jones's 81st-minute headed equaliser maintained Stoke's unbeaten run in their first European campaign for 37 years and means they require just a point at Beşiktaş JK on matchday six to win Group E. Dynamo, by contrast, now have only the faintest chance of advancing to the round of 32, and Andriy Shevchenko admitted they paid the price for dropping back too much in the second half.
Stoke forward Kenwyne Jones
We mixed up the game a bit. The fans were getting impatient, but it takes 90, 95 minutes to get a result as it showed tonight – we got the result late in the second half. It was the ball [from Jermaine Pennant] I'd been waiting on all night but thankfully we got it and we got the goal and it sent us through so I'm happy about that.
We're going to go [to Beşiktaş] and play and put on a good performance. It's lifted a lot of pressure for us as we've a lot of games coming up in the Premier League and we can now focus on the rush of games. It means a hell of lot for the club and for us as players – to achieve this is a massive thing.
Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham
It was definitely chalk and cheese. In the second half we were much better and thoroughly deserved to get the point. In the first half they dictated it more than we did and were probably the better team. We had a bit of a chat at half-time and sorted it out – the manager told us to be more ourselves as a team and really take the game to them which, as a group, we did in the second half.
It's a great achievement for the football club to be through, the points the lads have got, especially in the away games, is outstanding so full credit to the lads in the squad and the management. I've not played in Istanbul before and it'll be an interesting atmosphere. We're just very happy we've got the point we needed because Dynamo Kyiv are a great team and have great players all over the pitch. We thoroughly justified getting the point.
Dynamo forward Andriy Shevchenko
We tried to win the game because with the situation in the group we had to win but it's finished a draw. We had a couple of chances, we played very well in the first half but in the second the team dropped back. They have very good players in the air so it was difficult. We dropped back too much and gave them chances to cross the ball – we weren't so good in the second half. We have a small chance [to qualify], and I always believe.