© foto di Giuseppe Celeste/Image Sport
Niklas Moisander was proud of his AZ Alkmaar team after they overcame a "nightmare start" to beat Udinese Calcio 3-2 on aggregate and reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.
AZ Alkmaar defender Niklas Moisander told UEFA.com he is "very proud" of his team after the Eredivise leaders battled back from two goals and a man down to beat Udinese Calcio 3-2 on aggregate and qualify for the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals. Udinese striker Antonio Floro Flores, meanwhile, could not hide his disappointment, rueing the AZ strike that "destroyed our plans" after two early goals had wiped out the Zebrette's first-leg deficit.
Niklas Moisander, AZ defender
The start was a nightmare. We didn't want this to happen even if we knew Udinese were going to attack a lot in the beginning. The penalty and red card were bad for us so I'm very proud of the team, who kept fighting and eventually managed to qualify. Making it 2-1 was very important because we had a two-goal cushion again, and after scoring we knew it was possible so we started believing in it even more. We fought for each other and that was the key to our success. In the second half Udinese attacked a lot because they had to score twice, so we had space to counter. We got the penalty, which unfortunately Rasmus [Elm] missed, but we could have scored even more in the second half.
Erik Falkenburg, AZ midfielder
It was a difficult start indeed. The red card was very hard for us and we didn't know if we were going to survive, but ultimately we did, so we are very happy now. After making it 2-0 Udinese calmed down a bit, so we could better organise ourselves. Then our goals made it much easier for us. We are having a great season. It doesn't matter to me which team we face, we are just happy to have reached the quarter-finals.