After a one-all home draw against Anorthosis, Partizan finished UEFA Europa Conference League group B as second-placed and qualified for next year`s play-off stage. Youngster Marko Milovanovic deputized for unavailable Ricardo Gomes (illness) and scored game`s opener.
“I just keep training hard and wait for my opportunity. There`s no pressure for me, I`m always ready. I was thrilled to be a starter as I live to get my opportunity and prove myself”, said 18-year-old forward Milovanovic after the game.
He was praised by his teammates after the match and Milovanovic was happy by his overall performance himself as well.
“Everyone congratulated me on my performance. Goal aside, I`d like to underline my fighting spirit and desire. I was there 110%”.
Reward for the hard work came in the shape of three goals, against Novi Pazar, Dubocica and now Anorthosis.
“I live for goals! I waited for my seven days of glory for a year. I work hard all this time and this is what I was waiting for”, said Milovanovic.
We also spoke to centre-back Sinisa Sanicanin.
“We won second spot and qualified for the next round. If I`m not wrong, this is going to be our seventh European appearance after the winter break, a great result for us. Boss congratulated us, he`s thrilled with it all as we all are. We knew it was going to be hard on this uncomfortable turf but we had our aim, we knew what we needed result-wise. Of course, we wanted to win but this result suits as too. We are all over the moon now”, said Sanicanin.
Partizan was short of long-term absentees Natcho and Markovic, recently injured Pantic and Ricardo who suffered a health issue before the game.
“We missed several key players but we showed how big we are. Boss and his coaching staff can rely on all the players and everyone seems important. All the boys passed the test with flying colours. We are all thrilled and happy now”, said 26-year-old centre-back.
With ECL group stage finished, Partizan has two more domestic games to play before winter break.
“We can rest a bit now but it`s back to training tomorrow as we have two more important games to play. We have to keep going, to be strong for those two remaining games and enter the winter break on a positive note”, said Sanicanin.
Skipper Sasa Zdjelar was also more than pleased with team`s achievement.
“I`m over the moon. This was the time to go through to the next round. We had good qualifiers and group stage. This target is achieved, now we have to set new targets. This is a great win for Partizan as we had 4 players younger than 20 years of age on the field. This is the win of Partizan youth academy as well”, said 26-year-old holding midfielder.