Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot said his side’s late collapse in the first leg against Real Madrid was crucial as the French side bowed out to the holders in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday.
Despite their domestic struggles, record 12-time European champions Real advanced to the quarter-finals 5-2 on aggregate following a 2-1 victory in the return leg in Paris.
“It’s the first match in particular that we can have regrets about,” Rabiot told BeIn Sports, referring to a 3-1 defeat at the Bernabeu last month in a match in which he had given PSG the lead.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored twice in the first leg, was again on target at the Parc des Princes and although Edinson Cavani levelled on the night following the dismissal of Marco Verratti, Casemiro’s goal extinguished any hopes of a comeback.
“We dominated the first half in the return leg. We just perhaps lacked the goal to make them doubt things a bit. In the second half it became impossible at 10 against 11. It’s the first match in particular where it was decided.”
After four successive quarter-final exits, PSG have now lost twice in a row in the last 16 and have been unable to parlay their success in France onto the European stage.
“It’s not finished, it will come,” added Rabiot. “For the time being, it’s not happening but it will happen one day or another.”
Brazilian defender Marquinhos said the tie had hinged on “small mistakes”.
“It showed we still need a little bit more and that we need more experience. We were up against a Real Madrid team used to playing at the highest level,” he said.
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