Partizan beat Sochi after penalty shoot-out and secured meeting with Portuguese side Santa Clara in a Conference League play-off stage. Team spirit, love for the club and desire to win resulted in two Partizan comebacks and goals from Jojic and Scekic. Partizan players dedicated this win to Aleksandar Lutovac who lost his close family member yesterday.
We spoke to midfielder Milos Jojic after the game:
“Coaching team prepared us well for this match, we knew what to expect from the go. We also knew Sochi is nowhere to be seen only to become threat out of the blue. It turned out true – they had three good opportunities and scored two goals, Vujacic`s off the line clearance was great. I think we dominated all the way but lacked a bit of focus and audacity in the final third, there was no one to take the responsibility. We managed two comebacks, had a burning desire in every tackle and deserved to win in the end”, said Milos Jojic.
Jojic himself scored first Partizan equalizer.
“I felt good all the way through. I was quite motivated knowing what this win and passage to the next round can bring us. Our fans were behind us all the way and our confidence grew as a result. I felt I needed to go forward, ball reached me and I took a shot strong enough for ball to go in. I`m glad I scored, it means a lot to me ahead of all the games coming up”.
29-year-old midfielder was subbed in the second half and it was far from easy watching penalty shoot-out on the sidelines.
“There was a lot of stress on the bench during the extra time as we were all powerless do the anything. You want to help your team but you just can`t”.
Jojic spoke highly of his teammates.
“It`s hard to point out at anyone in particular. All the boys did their best, showed desire and character, showed they really cared to see Partizan go through. Obradovic and Miljkovic finally returned from injuries, Scekic entered the game as a sub in a great fashion as well as Soumah, while keeper Stevanovic assured us he will save one or two penalties. I`m so happy for them all”.
Partizan players also dedicated this win to their teammate Lutovac whose father died yesterday.
“We found out during morning session Lutovac lost his father and we were all shocked about it. We are there for him, whatever he needs. This win is dedicated to Lutovac as he was supposed to be on the field with us. He has to be strong now and we are there for him, family-like”.
Partizan will play Santa Clara in a Conference League play-off stage but it`s domestic league encounter against Metalac on Sunday first.
“As for Santa Clara, we play first leg away and it`s going to be tough there. But, we have important game on Sunday and there`s not much time to celebrate or relax. We are home to ever-uncomfortable Metalac and it won`t be easy, especially after midweek`s 120 minutes and all the emotions involved. However, we are Partizan and we are expected to win each and every game. We need to recover and prepare as best we can.
This team shows fighting spirit and character all the time. We are building something for a year now but we still believe we can do much better. We work hard week-in week-out, being it training sessions or games, and we try to advance and play better. Our trademarks are game discipline and very few goals conceded overall. I`m proud of this team”, said Milos Jojic.