"This was my best night as a professional," said Paco Alcácer after his hat-trick propelled Valencia CF to a stunning comeback which eliminated a shattered FC Basel 1893.
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"This was my best night as a professional," said forward Paco Alcácer after his hat-trick against FC Basel 1893 helped Valencia CF into the UEFA Europa League semi-finals. Trailing 3-0 at kick-off, Valencia struck twice late in the first half through Alcácer and Eduardo Vargas. Alcácer scored again with 20 minutes left and although the hosts missed a great chance to win it in normal time, late in the additional half-hour he and Juan Bernat settled a remarkable quarter-final. Bernat described it as a "beautiful night" while Basel's Matías Delgado took solace in having reached the last eight.
Paco Alcácer, Valencia forward
The aim was not to look back but to look forward. The aim was to score goals and we succeeded. Basel approached the match as we expected, defending deep. At the end of the first half we managed to score and that, along with the support of our fans, who were amazing, gave us a lot of strength.
We learned from the first leg – and it's best to forget the first half that we played there. We have to focus on this victory in Valencia and the attitude that we showed.
This was my best night as a professional footballer and I hope to have more like this. I have to thank my team-mates because without them I not have scored these goals. The match ball will be signed by all my colleagues and I will put it on a shelf in the house.
I hope to avoid all three opponents in the draw [laughs]! We have to accept the opponents we get in the draw and let's see how we approach the tie.
Dani Parejo, Valencia midfielder
We knew it was a difficult tie, with the result against us from the first leg. We were playing at home and we hoped we could make it. We are a great team, and we did in this match what we have done in others – good teams always show their class. The first half was very strange in Switzerland, the atmosphere, the empty stands ... From the second half in Basel until the end of the second leg, we were the better team.
We don't see ourselves as favourites. The four semi-finalists all have a chance – we are all great teams. We have to take it match by match. We will see who we get in the draw. At this stage of the competition we have to beat the best teams. It doesn't matter who you get, you have to beat them.
Juan Bernat, Valencia defender
It was a beautiful night for the entire club, fans included. I am very happy with the team's work – it was a great performance. It was very difficult to overturn the 3-0 deficit from the first leg, but from the first minute we went out to win the match, to turn around the tie, and this success leaves us very happy.
We knew it was important to score at least once in the first half, and luckily the second came just after the first. The fans have helped us, and we managed to equalise and win in extra time. It was a dream match and we dedicate this win to all our fans – they deserve it.
Matías Delgado, Basel midfielder
Going out is very hard, but we're very proud to have got this far and to have had the opportunity of playing against big teams like Valencia, with all their history. We are very pleased to have reached the quarter-finals, but they were much better in the second leg. We couldn't defend our three-goal lead from Basel. They deserved the win.
They were clinical and their fans pushed hard. We knew it would be very difficult with them playing in front of their home fans. We missed our injured players. They are very important players for our team.