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Baxter hails Crusaders for Champions League effort

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter talks to UTV following his side's Champions League exit. Credit: UTV

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter has hailed his side for their effort, despite falling to a 9-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of Bulgarian side Ludogorets in the Champions League qualifying first round.

The Crues endured a 7-0 hammering when they travelled for the opening away leg, but followed it up by holding their opponents to just two goals in their 2-0 defeat at Seaview on Tuesday night.

Crusaders and Ludogorets in Champions League qualifying first round action. Credit: Presseye

“When you play a team of this calibre, we expected to get another tanking,” a forthright Baxter admitted to UTV.

“The performance, each to a man, was sensational.”

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter singled out Howard Beverland as his Man of the Match. Credit: Presseye

Pleased with the positives he could take away from the steep learning curve of the experience, he added: “We may have lost 2-0, but it feels like a moral victory.”

Crusaders, the reigning Irish League champions, now exit the Champions league and enter the second qualifying round of the Europa League.