Lokomotiv Moscow produced a superb performance against Club Brugge to qualify and warm the spirits of those who endured the freezing conditions in the Russian capital.
Their surprise 2-0 victory consigned the Belgians to the UEFA cup, with Galatasaray failing to progress after their 3-1 defeat in Barcelona.
Lokmotiv coach Yuri Sermin praised his players: “I am pleased all our hard work was not in vain. All my players showed excellent commitment despite the pitch being very difficult to play on.”
Victory assured the Russians needed Barca to beat Galatasaray. A result the Russian coach felt was never in doubt.
“I knew they would win, because after we played them, Louis Van Gaal told me they would never lose to Galatasaray.”
Brugge coach Trond Sollied was impressed by the Moscow side.
“They were smart, and played good football, they deserved their win,” admitted Sollied.
The Brugge coach remained upbeat and insisted his side were already concentrating on the UEFA Cup.
Galatasaray’s elimination from European competition is a result of a continual series of injuries according to coach Fatih Terim, whose position at the club is now thought to be in jeopardy.
“Throughout this competition we have had to make changes to the team because of injuries and other causes, but tonight I would have liked Barcelona to have played their full B-side just like they did inBelgium two weeks ago.”
However, he conceded that the Catalan side were a highly impressive outfit and believed their reputation partially accounted for his team’s demise.
“Barcelona are a very complete team and if we had scored our best opportunities instead of giving away goals it might have changed our psychology.”
Barca coach Van Gaal wasimpressed by his side’s commitment but admitted Galatasaray had been unlucky.
“Perhaps we had some luck tonight, but we made the most of our opportunities and I am very happy because the substitute players proved that they are at the right level. This is along season and we will need them,” said Van Gaal.