Sevilla FC sealed progress but José Antonio Reyes was unhappy his side failed to secure top spot while Estoril Praia's Javier Balboa left southern Spain with pride intact.
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The mixed zone at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán was a strange place following Sevilla FC's 1-1 Group H draw with Estoril Praia, with glum looks from players who had secured progress contrasted with the beaming faces of the eliminated squad. "We wanted to win the game and top the group," was the reason for home disappointment according to José Antonio Reyes, while Javier Balboa and Evandro thought Estoril can be proud of their performances despite their UEFA Europa League challenge ending in Andalusia.
José Antonio Reyes, Sevilla forward
We did the most important thing [qualifying], but we wanted to win the game and top the group. However, the draw means we still qualify and so we can go home happy. We will head over there [to SC Freiburg] looking to win the game, but a draw would be enough. Every day I am feeling better, physically better, and that is important.
I think the whole team played well in the first half, though we could not keep it going in the second. The move for the goal was nice, but the most important thing is that the ball ended up in the net. You can pull off the most beautiful bit of play in the world and if it is not a goal then it does not get any recognition. What matters is the goal and at the end of the day, though the move was nice, Kevin [Gameiro] should get all the credit.
Cala, Sevilla defender
The most important thing was to qualify in first place, but at least we are through to the next round and we can try and secure top spot in the final game. It is a shame that their goal came about through one of our mistakes, but these things happen in football and we have to keep going and try to take first place against Freiburg.
Sevilla simply have to finish first in this group, and that is what we are going to Germany for. We played a very good first half and Estoril did really well in the second, they pinned us back and, even though we tried to clear everything that came our way, in the end they managed to get the goal.
Javier Balboa, Estoril midfielder
We have been told we no longer have a chance of going through, but we have still come here to a very tough stadium against a side that have been on the up recently. They are a very good team, better than us, but I think we really gave a good account of ourselves. It is a shame we started a bit slowly as we conceded the opening goal and had to claw our way back into the match.
In the second half we played well, without ever sacrificing our style of play – trying to knock the ball around and get to the byline to send crosses in. I think we played a good game, but it is not enough to keep us in the Europa League. Right now we are fourth in Portugal, which is a feat for us as we are behind just the big clubs and we are still in the two cup competitions. We are having a great season, let's see if we can keep it going to the end.
Evandro, Estoril midfielder
The emotions are good – the players and the fans are proud of the kind of football we played today and in all our games in the Europa League. I think this was a really worthwhile experience and one that will give us a real confidence boost for our Portuguese Liga campaign. I don't think it is about being lucky or unlucky, it is just the way the game goes.
There have been matches where we have created lots more chances than we did today and not scored, so I do not think we can start putting things down to luck or not. There was a bit of confusion in the dressing room after the game as we did not know whether we could still qualify or not. Once we found out we could not, there was a real sense of disappointment all round – but also a feeling of pride in the footballing display we gave today.