APOEL's coach Ivan Jovanovic, left, shakes hands with Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho after a Champions League quarterfinal soccer match at GSP stadium in Nicosia, Tuesday, March 27, 2012. Real Madrid beats APOEL 3-0. (Photo: AP)
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has praised Cypriot club APOEL Nicosia after his team’s difficult 3-0 win in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.
"It took us a long time to open the scoring but that had a lot to do with our opponents who played very well," Mourinho was quoted as saying after the match by Eurosport on Wednesday.
The nine-time European champions, Real Madrid, dominated the match but APOEL, the first Cypriot side to reach the last 16 of Europe’s premier club competition, defended solidly to frustrate their Spanish opponents.
“They don't have the outstanding individual talent that other teams in the Champions League have but in terms of organisation and character they are fantastic,” the Portuguese coach explained.
"They created many difficulties and I think we won the game because we played well. What they did was fantastic, and we had to play at optimum strength to win, they were fantastic in defence and they deserve our respect,” he concluded.
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