The Olympique Lyonnais players struggled to hide their disappointment after failing to reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in four years.
'It unsettled us'
AS Roma seized the initiative in the tie by scoring twice in the first half through Francesco Totti and Mancini at the Stade de Gerland to leave Gérard Houllier's team requiring three second-half goals - a task that proved beyond the French champions who were left to rue their slow start. "We took too long to get going and Roma punished us," midfielder Kim Källström told uefa.com. "It's so important not to concede at home and it unsettled us when they scored early on."
Källström had watched the first 45 minutes from the substitutes' bench but entered the fray along with Sylvain Wiltord at the interval. Both players came close to triggering a potential comeback, only to be denied by an inspired Doni in the visitors' goal. "Our aim was to try to get a goal early in the second half and then take it from there," Källström, 24, explained. "Unfortunately their goalkeeper was in great form. Sometimes in football the ball just doesn't go in, no matter how many chances you create."
Lyon captain Juninho Pernambucano cut a disconsolate figure as he reflected on another failed attempt to win the biggest prize in European club football. "We didn't perform well enough," said the 32-year-old Brazilian. "Roma were more dangerous than us and we conceded soft goals. We let in three here against [FC] Sochaux-Montbéliard and two more tonight. It's too many."
The season should still finish with silverware for Lyon who are 13 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and through to the final of the French League Cup. Juninho said: "We have an opportunity to win a double - something the club has never done. But when you've won five leagues titles already it's not easy to motivate yourself. It promises to be difficult end to the season."
Both Juninho and Källström accepted the defeat with grace, praising Roma on their outstanding display. "They put in a perfect away performance," Juninho summed up, while Källström admitted he was highly impressed by Luciano Spalletti's team, who are through to the last eight for the first time. "Roma were efficient in front of goal and defended really well," the Swedish international said. "I wouldn't say we didn't perform tonight - I'd say Roma turned in a great display. We knew they were good and were expecting a battle, but they were better than us on the night and we can only congratulate them."
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