"The truth is that we are very proud and very happy with this team and club," said goalscorer Ángel after a late equaliser against Hannover 96 kept spirits high at Levante UD.
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It was very much a game of two halves as a 2-2 draw in Spain ensured that Hannover 96 finished above Levante UD in UEFA Europa League Group L, though the German side were not best pleased after squandering a 2-0 lead – and conceding the equaliser deep into added time. However, with both sides through to the round of 32, exciting times lie ahead.
Ángel, Levante foward
We were very bad in the first half. We conceded two goals very easily and should have been more careful in the second half. Hannover played very well and have great players. They have managed to read the game in the first half. In the second they defended, looking to keep the result, but we regained our pride and will take that into the next game.
We were happy to play in the play-offs and then the group stage, and now we have come through that. The truth is that we are very proud and very happy with this team and club.
Since we finished second, whoever we play in the round of 32 will be very strong, but we will try to get through and continue competing. We are still enjoying the competition, which is a privilege. I've been fortunate to score again and that gives me confidence, but I had another chance and that is the one I am thinking about. Now we have to think about the Spanish Liga.
Vicente Iborra, Levante midfielder
It's unfortunate that they got that lead in the first half and that in the second half we couldn't have scored our equaliser a bit earlier. If we had done, we would have gone on to win the match. Still, we have shown again that we are a team that never gives up, with the help of the fans. That is something we have to remember. In the second half, they couldn't keep up with us. In the second half, the game was ours.
We all want a big-name opponent in the round of 32. We would be thrilled to face a big team and see how far we can go, if we can compete with them. Our experience in the UEFA Europa League has been very positive. We only needed another goal tonight to finish top of the group. That was a shame, but we succeeded in our primary objective, which was to qualify.
José Barkero, Levante playmaker
We are excited and we want to continue enjoying this competition. Now we have to see who we get in the draw. Hopefully we get a big team; Chelsea or Liverpool would be nice. I think that the next round could be brilliant for us. And of course, we will stand up to whoever we face. Hopefully we will get a big team, enjoy the occasion here and advance to the next round.
Mirko Slomka, Hannover coach
The late equaliser was very annoying, but we won the group, and that was our target. Levante had not conceded a single goal in their home games [in Group L] and we managed to score two, so everything is fine. To be honest, I don't have a preferred opponent for the next round, but I would be pleased for our fans to get an opponent with a reputation that is beatable nonetheless.
Christian Schulz, Hannover defender
In the second half, our attacking performance wasn't good – that's why the Spanish team got their chances to score. The fact that we conceded the equaliser in the very last minute is annoying for sure, but in the end it was all about topping the table, and that's what we managed with the draw.