Pantelidis: “We have been punished for our mistakes”
Following the bitter loss to Molde in the UEFA Europa League, Aris boss Savvas Pantelidis rued the mistakes which were made, while Erling Moe admitted luck was on his side.
After last week’s 3:0 hounding in Norway, not many people gave Aris a chance against a solid Molde side, but the Greeks came roaring back with a powerful performance at the rocking Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium. However, after goals from Javier Matilla, Georgios Delizisis and Nicolas Diguiny had dramatically forced extra time, substitute Mathis Bolly broke Aris hearts with a late winner.
Savvas Pantelidis congratulated his players with their defiant display: “First of all, I want to congratulate my players with their great performance,” stated a disappointed Pantelidis. “It seemed like we had a mountain to climb today, but we did it. This was a match full of emotions. We didn’t deserve to lose 3:0 in Norway either. Unfortunately, despite the bitterness, we are out. We have to move forward, even if that is very difficult right now.”
“We had 34 shots? We felt more relaxed playing at home,” continued the 54-year-old. “The first game in Norway did not reflect the level of Aris. However, we have ultimately been punished for the mistakes which we made. We conceded a goal today without Molde having more than two or three attempts. In terms of our performance, we achieved what we wanted in this game. The players are naturally very sad at the moment.”
Molde boss Erling Moe admitted that his players were close to elimination: “I was surprised by the performance of my players today, we struggled to compete with Aris,” said Moe. “After the first 20 minutes, we made too many mistakes and lost all of the battles. The most important thing for us is that we eventually achieved qualification. It felt as though we were walking on a tightrope. Aris fought harder than us and ran more. We are lucky enough to travel home happy.”
Nicolas Diguiny, who took the tie to extra time with his late goal, rued the mistake which cost Aris qualification: “We had a great game today, but we are very disappointed with the result. One mistake prevented us from achieving qualification. We can say that we paid for the errors which were made in the first match. That defeat cost us. I feel very sorry for the fans, they gave us fantastic support today. The atmosphere was amazing.”
Midfielder Javier Matilla felt that Aris would have deserved to qualify for the Europa League playoffs: “When I scored my goal, we all understood that we had to apply more pressure on Molde in that first half. Initially, it had been a comfortable start for them. After scoring the first marker, we were able to press them more, in turn having the chances to score more goals. We were superior. I have never experienced a situation when one team is so superior, but doesn’t qualify. They were lucky. We didn’t deserve to suffer elimination, but I am proud of our team.”