Simundza hails 'exceptional' Maribor

Ante Simundza believes Maribor's draw at home to Chelsea further proved that the Slovenians deserve to be in the UEFA Champions League.

A fortnight after being hammered 6-0 at Stamford Bridge in London on matchday three, Maribor managed to hold Group G leaders Chelsea to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.

Maribor walked away with a share of the spoils following Eden Hazard's penalty miss - denied by goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic - five minutes from time at Ljudski vrt, after Nemanja Matic had cancelled out Agim Ibraimi's 50th-minute opener.

"We have seen a fantastic match, a spectacular evening here in Maribor," Simundza said afterwards.

"Our team were exceptional and we proved again that we deserve to be in the Champions League group stage.

"Considering how the match went, the result was fair.

"It would have been nice if we could have scored one more goal, we had chances, but Chelsea also failed to score, even from the penalty spot, so we have to be satisfied with a draw."

Maribor are bottom of Group G, having drawn three of their four fixtures thus far.

However, the Slovenian champions are only two points adrift of second spot, which is occupied by Bundesliga outfit Schalke.

And Simundza has not given up hope of reaching the knockout rounds with two matches remaining.

"We are still in the race for progression from the group stage," he added.

"We have three points now, but two difficult matches in front of us. Everything is possible.

"The Maribor fans are the best in the world; the public showed again that they can give us extra energy. Thanks to them again."