UEFA Europa League holders Club Atlético de Madrid face an uphill battle to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit away to FC Rubin Kazan in next week's round of 32 decider. Already a goal down to Gökdeniz Karadeniz's well-worked opener, coach Diego Simeone ordered goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo forward for a 95th-minute corner which ultimately led to Pablo Orbaiz scoring a second on the break. Afterwards, Rubin's José Rondón and Cristian Ansaldi told UEFA.com that the result was down to plenty of hard work over the winter months.
Diego Simeone, Atlético coach
The decision [to send goalkeeper Asenjo up for a stoppage-time corner] and any subsequent responsibility was, and is, mine. I felt that the match was just about over and that a 1-1 scoreline would have brought us closer to getting through the tie. Football is a game of risks and as long as we play the game we will continue to take them.
Sergio Asenjo, Atlético goalkeeper
The team is hurting. That was too punishing a result for the effort we put in, especially in the second half. Above all, we are down because of the second goal we conceded. In the first half Rubin came out and played to their strengths. They were very strong at the back and looked to hit us on the counterattack which was how they managed to score. In a two-legged tie it is hard to play against a Russian team because they are generally very strong defensively. We're Atlético Madrid and we must go there and try to produce our best. It will be a completely different game and we will hold onto the hope that we can turn things around.
Tiago, Atlético midfielder
We didn't start well and, what was worse, Rubin scored with their first opportunity. After that, we left too much space between defence and attack which cost us in terms of creating danger. We were better after the break and managed to produce chances but not to score. Rubin are very well-organised and know exactly what they are doing. You could tell they have been studying us these past months. Now everyone assumes we are out but we have nothing to lose. I honestly believe we are capable of going there and getting a result.
Jóse Rondón, Rubin forward
We have been working hard for quite some time – training and playing friendlies, knowing we were coming up against a very tricky opponent. Because of that, we're thrilled with tonight's result. I think the keys to victory were our intensity and the commitment we showed from the very first minute. It's a magnificent result but slightly deceiving because 2-0 doesn't guarantee you a passage through. There is another game to go, 90 minutes more, so we have to keep working and approach the return encounter with the same attitude. Atlético are a huge club, not just in Spain but on a world level. They are the current [UEFA Europa League] champions – there's nothing more to say.
Cristian Ansaldi, Rubin defender
Despite knowing what we were up against – a great team with great players – we played our own defensive game while using the counterattack and it worked for us. Every time we got to their area we created danger. I know that was only two or three times in the match but we scored twice and when it came time to defend we were fully switched on. We have to be just as focused in the return match, knowing that a draw will do us.
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