Lopez hopes for historical comeback
Villarreal goalkeeper Diego Lopez refuses to give up on the possibility of reaching the UEFA Europa League final in Dublin, despite starting tomorrow's semi-final second leg with a 5-1 aggregate deficit to Porto.
Everything seemed to be going smoothly at half-time in the first leg for the La Liga side in Portugal after Cani's goal gave them a 1-0 lead. However, the Portuguese champions blew the Yellow Submarine out of the water in the second half by scoring five goals with Falcao, the tournament's top goalscorer, netting four of them.
Lopez admits it will be difficult to overcome the aggregate scoreline, but he and his team-mates are determined to try. "We need to believe in ourselves first so we can turn the tie around," he said. "It could hardly be more difficult, but it's not impossible. It's going to be difficult, but in the dressing room we are convinced that we can achieve it."
Lopez also said Villarreal were the better side a week ago and that if Villarreal progress to the final it will go down in history as a truly remarkable comeback.
"Porto played great football for 30 minutes, but we were better in the rest of the game. We are ready to give our all and show that we are a great team and that we can beat them," Lopez said. "We have total confidence in our strikers. I hope that we each have a perfect game to achieve something historic for this club. Something that would be remembered for a long time."
Porto arrive in Spain with only complacency to guard against after the stunning first-leg performance, but Alvaro Periera wants his team-mates to put in a professional performance to ensure their place in the final.
"The game is not yet won," he told Ojogo. "We always respect our opponent. In football, there are surprises every day. We know we have a good advantage, but we always play the same way. Furthermore, if we were reach the final on the back of a defeat, it would not have the same taste.
"We are accustomed to always winning so when you lose it is very difficult, the defeats hurt more. We have come here to win, to try to be smart. We must play it cool, but try to win. We must pretend that everything is at zero."