Thursday, May 23, 2024

Tuchel: Champions League semi-final defeat ´tough to accept´

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 May 2024

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Thomas Tuchel reflects on “tough to accept” defeat after Real Madrid came from behind to win 2-1 and knock Bayern Munich out of the Champions League on Wednesday.

After a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the semi-final at the Allianz Arena, Bayern took the lead in the 68th minute through Alphonso Davies.

However, Joselu came off the bench to score twice in three minutes to send the LaLiga champions to the Champions League final with a 4-3 aggregate win over Bayern.

“It hurts. It’ll take a while to recover, but on the one hand, it’s a loss where we left it all out on the pitch,” Tuchel told DAZN after the game.

“Of course, it’s tough to accept. It’s part of reality. No regrets. But on the other, there were too many injuries, a few too many substitutions, too many cramps.

“We started with a front four and by the end they were all off the pitch. And then Manu, who had been exceptional in saving us all night, made a mistake he wouldn’t make in another 100 years.”

In stoppage time, Matthijs de Ligt had the ball in the back of the net, but the referee had already blown his whistle after the linesman raised his flag, so VAR could not intervene.

The replays showed that the original decision was closer than first thought, and Tuchel was frustrated with how the situation was handled.

Speaking to TNT Sports, Tuchel said: “We are almost through, it’s almost there and there was a very unusual mistake from our best player for the equaliser, then we conceded the second one in stoppage time.

“Then we scored one and there was a disastrous decision from the linesman and the referee. It feels like a betrayal in the end. There was a huge fight, we left everything on the pitch, and we were almost there. Now we say congratulations to Real Madrid.

“The linesman says sorry, but that does not help. To raise the flag in a moment like this… The referee sees we get the second ball, and we get the shot – it’s a very, very bad decision. It’s against the rules. It’s a disaster. It’s hard to swallow, but that’s the way it is.”

Manuel Neuer made five saves in the game and looked equal to Madrid’s threat until he spilled the ball in the build-up to Joselu’s first goal.

“Anyone who’s ever played football knows how I’m feeling right now,” he told DAZN.

“That we’ve been knocked out in the closing stages, having led 1-0 until the 88th minute, it’s extremely bitter.

“We’d taken one step to London; we saw ourselves in the final, and now I’m lost for words.”

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