Asier del Horno was left to reflect upon "a huge defeat" after his Valencia CF side came unstuck at the hands of his former club, Chelsea FC, last night.
Having drawn 1-1 at Stamford Bridge, Valencia took the lead in the home leg through Fernando Morientes, but conceded an Andriy Shevchenko goal early in the second half before being denied a chance to win the game in added time when Michael Essien scored the English side's winner in the 90th minute. With Valencia losing 1-0 to another of his old clubs, Athletic Club Bilbao, in the league at the weekend, the late decider at the Mestalla Stadium came as a mighty blow to Del Horno and his team-mates. "With all the work we had done and after hanging on for so long, it is a huge defeat," he admitted.
"We knew that to get through we had to score and score more than once," added the 26-year-old. "Chelsea are very dangerous, they have a very strong side and it's been a tough quarter-final. It's bad luck for us but I think we've been competitive at all times and it's a big shame for us." Del Horno admitted that he was disappointed at the manner of his side's defeat, saying: "We should have held on a bit more because their first goal came very early in the second half and it hurt us. Overcoming that was very hard but we have to get over all this because that's all we can do."
Defeat against Athletic left Valencia fifth in the Primera División and facing a battle to return to the UEFA Champions League next season. Although the last few days have taken their toll, Quique Sánchez Flores' men will have little chance to dwell on their misfortune. Valencia welcome high-flying UEFA Cup contenders Sevilla FC to the Mestalla Stadium on Sunday night and know a return to winning ways is a must if they are to avoid losing further ground on fourth-placed Real Zaragoza.
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