Captain Iker Casillas conceded that Real Madrid CF face a "difficult task" in overturning FC Barcelona's 2-0 first-leg lead at Camp Nou next Tuesday, but said their UEFA Champions League tilt is "not over yet."
Having defended resolutely throughout a tense first half, Madrid were unsettled by Pepe's dismissal shortly after the hour and they eventually succumbed to two Lionel Messi goals. "At 0-0 both teams were controlling the game in their own way," reflected Casillas. "Barça were having more possession and passing it about while we were soaking up the pressure and looking to hit them on the counterattack."
The Spain No1 knows that Madrid's original game plan is now in tatters. "We went into tonight's game thinking about the overall outcome," he admitted. "We weren't thinking in terms of a home game and that being the most important one. We thought that if the the match was going to finish 0-0 here at the Santiago Bernabéu, we could go [to Camp Nou] and score meaning they would have to do so twice."
The nine-time European champions now have to rewrite their script for next Tuesday's return encounter but Casillas is sure that, with such a big prize at stake, he and his team-mates will do all they can to turn the tide. "
The tie is not finished; it's a difficult task, yes, but it's not over yet," the 29-year-old said. "We are going to fight and give it our all knowing that if we do turn things around the prize on the horizon is a European Cup."
Midfielder Xabi Alonso echoed those sentiments. "The players in the dressing room are very down after this result but we need to let some time pass now and then begin to prepare the return encounter in the same determined manner as we did this one," he explained. "Although it will be tricky in the second leg we will go there in a professional manner and you never know what might happen; football is a game that can always produce surprises."
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