Always the last player to give up, FC Internazionale Milano midfielder Javier Zanetti was "very sorry" after Olympique de Marseille struck in added time to eliminate the 2010 winners in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, a result the Nerazzurri captain felt was hard on his side.
André Ayew headed the only goal late in the first leg, before Inter levelled the aggregate score through Diego Milito with 15 minutes to play at San Siro. However, once again they were punished in added time, here by Marseille substitute Brandão, and while Giampaolo Pazzini gave Inter victory on the night with the last strike of the game, converting the penalty he had earned, it was already too late for Inter.
"We are very sorry because we really wanted to reach the quarter-finals," said the 38-year-old Zanetti, one of the few Inter players to talk after the match. "It was a hard game. We were up against a very strong Marseille side. We had several chances to score, especially in the early stages, and even after our first goal we pushed hard for the second. Then, all of a sudden, their goal came instead of our second. We didn't deserve that considering our performance and how hard we tried."
Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda produced great saves to repel close-range efforts from Wesley Sneijder and Milito early on, but the French team then defended resolutely until Milito pounced on a loose ball following an Esteban Cambiasso corner from the left. Extra time was looming until – four minutes after replacing Loïc Rémy – Brandão latched onto a long ball from Mandanda to score with his left foot.
"In both games we conceded stoppage-time goals but tonight especially it came out of nothing," Zanetti said. "We had not looked in danger for 90 minutes."
Out of Europe and the Coppa Italia, Inter are seventh in Serie A, eight points behind S.S. Lazio, who occupy Italy's third and final UEFA Champions League qualifying berth. "We have thank our fans who have supported us in every match," Zanetti said. "I understand their disappointment but we are as disappointed as they are.
"It has been a difficult season from the start but let's try to finish it in the best possible way. It will not be easy because tonight was a big blow but we will do our best. We have to try to finish third. We know we have many teams ahead of us but we also know we must try."
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.