Olympique de Marseille midfielder Alou Diarra believes FC Bayern München's greater European experience proved the difference between the teams in Wednesday's 2-0 first-leg loss in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Jupp Heynckes' charges will begin next week's second leg as strong favourites to reach the last four after strikes by Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben accounted for a hard-working Marseille at the Stade Vélodrome. Neither side created many clear chances in a tactical affair, but while Loïc Rémy hit the woodwork early on for OM and saw another effort saved by Manuel Neuer, the visitors were far more ruthless.
Although Marseille defended well for long periods, Diarra was left rueing the lapses that led to Bayern's goals. "We feel extremely disappointed because both goals could have been prevented," the 30-year-old French international told UEFA.com. "
We played well in the first half. We were committed, we closed them down and stopped them playing. Unfortunately we conceded right on the stroke of half-time. That really hit us hard."
While OM are competing at this stage for the first time in 19 years, four-time European champions Bayern are contesting their fourth quarter-final in six years. "You could say experience was the difference," reflected Diarra, whose first-half booking means he will miss the return match on 3 April.
"Both goals we conceded were naive. For the second one, we tried to play a quick free-kick when we were not in position and we were punished. They controlled it from 2-0, but we regret our two mistakes."
The Ligue 1 outfit have failed to win any of their last nine games and, as left-back Jérémy Morel admitted, confidence is low. "We were up against a really top team. To try to compete against a side like Bayern when you are not playing well isn't easy," the former FC Lorient defender told UEFA.com.
"We were very solid in the first half and everyone was working hard. But the first goal hurt us and we never recovered." Midfielder Morgan Amalfitano concurred, saying: "It's a great shame they got that goal before half-time. We had chances to score the first goal."
Without a domestic fixture this weekend, Didier Deschamps' men have six days to recover before the sequel in Munich and nobody in the camp is throwing in the towel. "We will give everything in the second leg," Morel vowed.
"We have nothing left to lose," Diarra added: "It's not mission impossible. We scored three in Dortmund in the group stage. Bayern drop very few points at home so it will take a big performance. But we know we have the ability to cause them problems."
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