Olympique Lyonnais coach Rémi Garde was "happy and relieved" after a draw at FC Rubin Kazan sent his team into the group stage, as home boss Kurban Berdyev backed his weary side.
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Rémi Garde admitted he was a relieved man after Olympique Lyonnais qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 12th successive time. His team resisted a second-half surge from FC Rubin Kazan, responding to Bebras Natcho's 77th-minute strike through Bakary Koné and coming through 4-2 on aggregate after being just one goal away from going out.
Rémi Garde, Lyon coach
We're satisfied to have come through against a tough Rubin Kazan team. We're happy and relieved. I'm especially happy for the players. I tried not to think about the stakes of this game and everything else and just focus on the match itself. I was wary of their tactical skills. They always make life difficult for their opponents. We tried to block the wing players in their 3-5-2. That was the most important thing. And players applied our tactics marvellously. At 1-0, we were far from comfortable, but we managed to stop them.
Bakary Koné, Lyon defender
The goal was a moment of pure joy. I feel very content in this team. My team-mates have given me a perfect welcome; I'm proud to be in such a team [having joined from EA Guingamp in the summer].
Hugo Lloris, Lyon goalkeeper
[To progress] was the result we wanted. It was tight until the end. We could have scored before them. You must congratulate them for throwing everything at us until the end. It was a difficult game, and a key game to our whole season. Once again we came from behind and avoided a loss [it was the fifth match in a row that Lyon have gone a goal down but retrieved something from the game]. We must keep that resilient mindset.
Kurban Berdyev, Rubin coach
We knew Lyon would play from defence and try to counterattack. We had chances after we opened the scoring, but by then we had almost no energy. We lacked energy in the second half, especially in midfield. Christian Noboa and Bebras Natcho gave it all they had, but Lyon started to find spaces as a result, and they managed to take full advantage of that. Obafemi Martins came in very well from the bench. It's a pity he's not ready to play more, as he is not in his best shape now.
Bebras Natcho, Rubin midfielder
Lyon are a good team, but we were not afraid. We have a really tough schedule and there are a lot of injured players, but we still did quite well, even though the workload is huge. We could've gone through but we made too many mistakes in the first match. Today, we did all that we could. We had a chance to score a second but let our opponents equalise. That's football. Now we'll play in the UEFA Europa League - every match will be tough there as well.