"We had a history with Liverpool and I think we have settled the score," said Cenk Gönen after Beşiktaş JK beat the Reds on penalties in front of a crowd of 63,324.
Article top media content
• Crowd of 63,324 watch Beşiktaş beat Liverpool on penalties
• "I think we have settled a score with Liverpool," said goalkeeper Cenk Gönen
• Veli Kavlak says every Beşiktaş player had volunteered to take a penalty
• Liverpool's Kolo Touré adds: "The atmosphere here was the best I ever played in"
• Follow Friday's round of 16 draw on UEFA.com, with live streaming from 13.00CET
A crowd of 63,324 – the second-highest in UEFA Europa League history – watched Beşiktaş JK spoil Liverpool FC's return to the scene of their 2004/05 UEFA Champions League triumph, with goalkeeper Cenk Gönen sure that accounts have been settled after the Black Eagles' shoot-out victory.
The Reds beat AC Milan on penalties at Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadium in 2005, but the big result in the eyes of the Beşiktaş players was clearly their predecessors' 8-0 defeat at Anfield in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage – Beşiktaş's heaviest European defeat, and indeed the heaviest loss suffered by any club in the UEFA Champions League (group stage to final).
With the tie going to penalties after the teams traded 1-0 wins, the first nine spot kicks were scored before Dejan Lovren blazed Liverpool's fifth over. "We had a history with Liverpool and I think we have settled the score now," said Cenk. "It was important for the team, for the club, for the fans. [For Lovren's penalty] I waited until the very last moment before he shot. I did not move and I think it played a part in making him miss."
Austrian midfielder Veli Kavlak was overwhelmed by the emotion of the occasion and proud that his side had showed their courage under pressure. "We are so happy, I am speechless," he said. "It is a very beautiful night for the club. This happiness we feel is indescribable. Before the shoot-out, coach [Slaven Bilić] came to us and said he was proud of us – that we had dominated 120 minutes of play and that we had nothing to lose. Then he asked: 'Who wants to take one?' and everybody raised their hand."
Serdar Kurtuluş, the only member of the current Beşiktaş side who was involved in the 2007/08 meetings with Liverpool, knew the magnitude of the occasion more than most. "It was a really important game for us," he said. "We got the first goal by playing really well and we could have finished the job in 90 minutes. We had a missed chance in the last minute but that was how it was meant to be. We did it the hard way but what mattered is that we won. Thank God – we are incredibly happy."
Liverpool's Kolo Touré, meanwhile, did his best to put a brave face on things. "A win would have been really, really good, but that's football," he shrugged. "We could have won, but we didn't. We just need to forget about tonight, learn from the defeat, and be ready for the Manchester City game on Sunday. Was the atmosphere tough for the younger players? Definitely. The atmosphere here was unbelievable – I think it was the best I ever played in. Honestly."