Diego Martinez: “Now the European teams know who Granada are”

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Football Espana

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Granada travelled to England this evening to face Manchester United in the second leg of their Europa League quarter final, losing 2-0 to exit the competition. The Andalusians also lost the first leg back at Los Carmenes 2-0 thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes, and went into the game needing to pull off a miracle to secure a place in the semi final, ultimately falling short. Edinson Cavani opened the scoring for the illustrious hosts, before a Jesus Vallejo own goal sealed the deal.

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Granada’s road to this point was long. They’ve negotiated their way past Teuta, Locomotive Tbilisi, Malmo, PSV, PAOK, AC Omonia, Napoli and Molde to get to the quarter-final for the first time in their history, and despite their exit can absolutely hold their heads high for a job well done. United, with a little more pedigree in Europe, entered the competition at the last 32 after being knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage. They beat Real Sociedad and Milan to get to Granada.

Granada were promoted to La Liga in 2019, playing a refreshing brand of football under Diego Martinez. They finished seventh last season to qualify for European football for the first time in their history, entering uncharted territory. Their visit to Old Trafford got off to a poor start, however, with the Andalusians conceding the first goal of the night to Cavani, and ended on a poor note, when Vallejo scored his own goal in the final minute.

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“I cannot blame the team or the players for anything,” Martinez said in post-match comments carried by Marca. “We’ve lacked efficiency and we deserved to score, both today and in the first leg, we felt like like we could go through the tie against a team like Manchester. We’ve fallen with our heads held high, competing until the last second. This is tremendous. It’s above the semi-finals of the Copa, this is Europe. Now the European teams know who Granada are.”