"I should have had at least two or three more myself," said VfL Wolfsburg forward Alexandra Popp as a 2-1 win against FC Rossiyanka left the Russian side with plenty to play for.
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Coach Ralf Kellermann is "convinced" that VfL Wolfsburg can make it to the semi-finals, though he admited that their 2-1 UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final win against FC Rossiyanka "feels like a defeat".
Alexandra Popp rued her own missed chances and conceded that "the focus got lost" in the second half. Rossiyanka's German coach Achim-Matthias Feifel hailed his team's second-half performance, and while goalkeeper Elvira Todua said "a defeat is obviously never a good result", Nigerian forward Desire Oparanozie begged to differ.
Ralf Kellermann, Wolfsburg coach
It was a very physical game, but that is normal in the UEFA Women's Champions League and on the international stage. We played a very good first half and should have scored a lot more goals, given the amount of chances we had. In the second half, we were not really awake, and due to the difficult pitch conditions, could not profit from Rossiyanka going a player down.
In the end we won 2-1, but for me it feels like a defeat. To concede on home soil is a double pain, but in the end we are still in a good position and I am convinced we will reach the semi-finals.
Alexandra Popp, Wolfsburg forward
We had so many chances to score – I should have had at least two or three more myself. Then we conceded this stupid goal and this was a bitter blow as we wanted to have a clean sheet to take to to Russia. The snow made us lose our focus. We had planned to play even more aggressively in the second half and increase our pressing game, but the snow didn't allow it. We have never played on snow before and the Russian players completely focused on their defence, so it was difficult for us to keep the ball moving. A Russian player stepped on my hand, it is pretty painful and an X-ray will reveal on Thursday if there is something broken. I hope it is not a serious injury.
Martina Müller, Wolfsburg forward
We could have made our lives a bit easier regarding the second leg, but I think we are still in a good position. We can score in Russia. If we continue working and stay focused then I am sure we can make it. We conceded an unfortunate own goal, the weather wasn't perfect for both teams and our game didn't go to plan in the second half. And it is often the case that teams who go a player down get a fresh boost.
It is nice for a forward to score a goal like that when you only have to chip in the ball. We have trained this quite often and Zsanett [Jakabfi] passed the ball at just the right moment.
Achim-Mathias Feifel, Rossiyanka coach
We played our last competitive game against a good opponent on 18 November, so I expected a tough start. We didn't know, where we stood. You know that if you face a top class team you have problems and that's how it was.
It is Wolfsburg's fault that they didn't score more goals. I have to compliment my team. In the second half we wanted to keep the score down and get a goal to give us chances in the second leg. That worked perfectly, as we managed to score. Our defensive game was good in the second half – our keeper had a good game and the weather played into our hands.
Elvira Todua, Rossiyanka goalkeeper
A defeat is obviously never a good result, but we fought well despite being a player down. The first half was not good – we didn't get into the game – and the red card messed up our plans, but we scored an away goal that could be very important. We will have a different approach in the second leg and play more aggressively from the very beginning. After having a player sent off, we needed to be strong as a team and compensate for the loss. The weather influenced the game and made it tough.
Desire Oparanozie, Rossiyanka forward
It is a good result for us and the tie is still very open. We scored a goal with a player down away from home. In the second half, we believed we could do it. The red card really motivated us – we wanted to make amends for the player who was sent off and we didn't want her to feel bad. We thought: 'Let's get back in this game for her, and we did it.'
Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Rossiyanka midfielder
We played as a team and that's why we got this result. After conceding early, we regrouped and fought for each other. When we got the red card, the coach told us that it was not over and we had to play as a team and not give up. So we went back onto the pitch, fought with our team spirit for our dismissed team-mate and that's what made the difference.