Barça happy to have outlasted resolute hosts
Thursday, 24 April 2014
If there was relief in the FC Barcelona camp after their shoot-out win made amends for last year's semi-final loss, Araz Naxçivan could feel pride at having pushed them all the way.
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FC Barcelona's Aicardo admitted that his team had experienced the whole gamut of sporting emotions before finally overcoming Azerbaijani hosts Araz Naxçivan on penalties in a gripping UEFA Futsal Cup semi-final. While Aicardo supplied two of the Catalans' four goals in Thursday's 4-4 thriller in Baku, the man whose dramatic late strike had forced extra time – Araz No10 Adriano Foglia – was satisfied that he and his side had given everything they possibly could have.
Adriano Foglia, Araz forward
It was a brilliant game, against Barcelona, the best team in the world. I think we gave a superb performance and executed our game plan perfectly. I want to congratulate all my colleagues and all of the crowd here tonight. Walking off the court I definitely had the feeling that I had given absolutely everything I could have done. However, we lost out on penalties.
We now have to forget about this defeat because we have to play for third place, so what's happened has happened. We can be happy that we gave all that we could have done. In this respect I am happy.
Their goalkeeper is really tall so it was nothing to do with technique, it was more about luck. After 50 minutes out there our legs had gone a bit and we were tired, and that can show in a penalty shoot-out. But that's the way it goes – we could have reached the final, but now we're aiming for third place. The fans got right behind us and now we want to win in front of them on Saturday.
Aicardo, Barcelona defender
Lots of emotions out there! It was a really tough game – like you saw, it could have gone either way until the penalty shoot-out. But I'm reallly happy about the victory and to reach another final, which is never easy in this competition. We've made amends for losing last season's semi-final to Kairat Almaty and now we're through, we've got another difficult match against Dynamo on Saturday. But we'll be doing our best to bring another title home to Barcelona.
I wasn't surprised by Araz. We'd seen videos of them and knew all about their threat. They've signed good players like Kristjan Čujec, while Felipe, for example, is excellent in possession for them. But we can be happy with the result and with our progress.
It was a bit of shock when they scored so early but we managed to get our noses in front until the very end when they found the equaliser for 3-3. It was nice to score twice myself but I was more happy that the team stood up to the challenge and claim the win. We are very confident. We've managed to beat a really strong team and now we face another huge game.
Alesio, Araz coach
You all saw how hard-working my players were today. You shouldn't forget the quality of the opponent we faced and against whom we only lost on penalties, which as we know are a lottery. We had prepared for them, but unfortunately my players weren't as precise as Barcelona were. We just weren't lucky enough. Four years ago, for example, my Azerbaijan team beat Ukraine at the Futsal EURO this way. Fortune isn't always on the same side, though, and that's sport.
Marc Carmona, Barcelona coach
We are glad to reach the final. Araz were aggressive and compact and they caused us a lot of trouble. It was tough. However, even when losing 1-0 we managed to stick together and change the flow of the match. We conceded goals because of our own mistakes, but we were psychologically better than they were in the end. Araz could have won, but the game finished the way we wanted despite us spurning loads of chances. We didn't always control the ball and as for the number of goals scored tonight, you have to expect this knowing the style of play of both teams.