Rennes' Hatem Ben Arfa was thrilled after starring in the 3-1 return leg win away to Real Betis, proving ambitious for his side's future in the competition, while coach Julien Stéphan had nothing but praise for his players.
Thursday, 21 February 2019
UEFA Europa League, round of 32 second leg
Estadio Benito Villamarin, Seville
Real Betis Balompié 1 - 3 Stade Rennais FC (Rennes through 6-4 on aggregate)
Quique Setién (Real Betis Balompié coach): "We had high hopes for this match. We knew it would be tough as Rennes have resources and talent. They're also dangerous from set pieces - no easy team to face. Rennes dominated and fate chose not to smile upon us. That's the reality of the situation. After the second goal, we began to doubt ourselves and things got complicated. It's a big disappointment for everyone and our fans left the stadium very sad. But we need to turn the page and move on."
Hatem Ben Arfa (Stade Rennais FC playmaker): "Tonight we're very happy for the club, the city and all of Brittany. We showed a lot of personality; we had a plan. The coach had lofty ambitions and we steeped up as a team. Now we can enjoy this with everyone. The key to the match was our pushing high up the pitch. Now our objective is to go as far as possible in the competition."
Julien Stéphan (Stade Rennais FC coach): "All the credit goes to the players. They played an admirable match - in terms of the energy, intelligence, self-sacrifice and engagement. It's a great night for the club, the fans and the players too. We learnt from our mistakes last week. We were full of ambition coming here and we gave it a red-hot go. That's where the players really excelled. We suffered at moments, notably in the second half, but Think that over 90 minutes, the win is a deserved one. We wanted to be courageous and ambitious and leave with no regrets, and that's what happened. The players were fantastic. I hope this is the first of many such nights for us."