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Nail Yakupov: "We had a huge desire to win"

Ak BarsNail YakupovAk Bars - SKA - 010918KHL Opening Cup
HC SKA press-service

- Nail, why did you beat the reigning KHL champions by such a large score?

- Our goal was to win. I have wanted to win for a very long time, so I had a huge desire to earn the victory in this match. Overall, we stuck to our game plan and tried to play aggressively. Ak Bars started well, it was an intense match, however in the second period we took over the initiative and took advantage of our opportunities after the opponents ran into penalty trouble.

- For you personally, was it important to score in the first KHL match of the season?

- Of course! My goal came when the outcome of the match had already been decided. However, I always want to score, and my whole family was at the stadium alongside lots of friends.

- Was it special for you to beat Ak Bars?

- We have all been looking forward to the new season for a long time after training hard in the summer. Ak Bars are important opponents for us, especially taking into account that they won the 2017/2018 KHL season. We wanted to beat them in Kazan and start the season with a victory.

Nail Yakupov: "We had a huge desire to win"

- You are from Tatarstan, so was it even more important to win?

- Yes, probably it was. It's great to play in Tatarstan, I travel to Kazan on a regular basis, I love the city and I know plenty of the guys from Ak Bars. This is only the start, a long season is ahead of us.

- Did Nikita Gusev take your puck after you scored?

- He did. When I scored my first KHL goal with Neftekhimik, I didn't take the puck.

- How big is the difference between the North American and Finnish sized ice rinks?

- It was a very fast game. It was an intense match and the teams both had their own systems. Yes, maybe there was more space behind the net and in the corners, but we play on the ice we are given.

- At what point of the match did you release that SKA had won?

- After 4:1 or 5:1.

- How satisfied are you with the quality of the performance?

- We won 6:1 and everything worked out.

- Will you touch the KHL Opening Cup?

- If I find it, I will.

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