Habib Habibou said SV Zulte Waregem could yet advance after kick-starting their Group D campaign with a win that left NK Maribor's Mitja Viler ruing "silly mistakes".
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SV Zulte Waregem duo Habib Habibou and Sven Kums were delighted after the Belgian side kept alive their hopes of progressing to the knockout phase with a 1-0 win at NK Maribor, who they leapt above in Group D. "Everything is possible," said forward Habibou following a success earned by Thorgan Hazard's first-half penalty. The hosts' Mitja Viler was left ruing the "silly mistakes" which mean they now prop up the section.
Habib Habibou, Zulte Waregem forward
It was a difficult game. We were away and Maribor have a very good team, they are very well organised. I am happy that we won. We played well and scored first. It is always very important to score first, especially if you are away. I am very happy: we got our first win of the UEFA Europa League group stage. Now everything is possible. Our next European game is against Wigan. If we win it will be great for our chances, but if we lose it will be difficult. We still have a chance to go through and I am confident we can make it happen.
Sven Kums, Zulte Waregem midfielder
We knew we had to win and it was difficult. We did not want to press too high as Maribor have two good strikers. The penalty soon came and from then on we could focus on our counterattacks. Sadly, we did not take advantage of the space they gave us to score one or two more and kill off the game. In the second half Maribor came back into the game and our keeper [Sammy Bossut] had to make some quality stops to save our one-goal advantage.
Now we need to go to Wigan, which will be a really important game. I think Rubin are more or less through and we play them on the last matchday of the group stage, which makes the Wigan game even more important.
Aleš Mertelj, Maribor midfielder
The game did not finish as we wanted. Zulte Waregem scored from a penalty after our mistake. We had enough chances to turn the game in our favour, but we could not score. You could see our desire, we also had more ball possession but sadly this was not our night. Although we lost, we still have a chance to qualify for the next round. There are two games left and we will try to do as much as possible.
Mitja Viler, Maribor defender
This was a real European game, high tempo. The game was decided by a silly mistake. Zulte Waregem scored from a penalty, while we were unable to score. This is the Europa League, where every mistake is costly. We won in Belgium, they won here … too bad. They only had a few real chances. But nothing is over yet, we still have two more games and the result in the other of today's Group D matches [FC Rubin Kazan 1-0 Wigan Athletic FC] went in our favour. I think that no matter what, the Slovenian people can be proud of us and our European performances.