Bayer Leverkusen captain Lars Bender failed to conceal bitter disappointment after the Bundesliga team suffered a 2-1 Champions League loss at Barcelona.
Roger Schmidt’s men were 10 minutes away from a famous triumph over the holders in Group E after Kyriakos Papadopoulos broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
But Sergi Roberto netted an 80th-minute equaliser and two minutes later Luis Suarez snatched victory for the hosts, who were without injured talisman Lionel Messi and saw skipper Andres Iniesta limp off with a hamstring injury.
“We could have scored the second, but we didn’t. We have been close to a sensation tonight,” Bender told reporters, as quoted by UEFA.com.
“They have a lot of qualities. And we couldn’t defend all their chances.
“It is very disappointing that we conceded two goals in such a short time in the final stages of the game.”
Christoph Kramer echoed his team-mate’s thoughts and reflected on a missed opportunity from Javier Hernandez that might have made the points safe.
“We should have beaten Barcelona. It’s very disappointing that we leave empty-handed. Chicharito had a great to chance to make it 2-0.”