Marek Čech was left to rue "three or four" missed chances as FC Porto bowed out to FC Schalke 04 on penalties, saying: "It's bad luck to go out this way."
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Marek Čech refused to make excuses as his FC Porto side exited the UEFA Champions League after losing a penalty shoot-out to FC Schalke 04 at the end of a thrilling night at the Estádio do Dragão.
Lisandro López's superb strike late in normal time proved insufficient as visiting goalkeeper Manuel Neuer added to his catalogue of excellent stops from the likes of Tarik Sektioui inside the 120 minutes of open play by denying López again and Bruno Alves during the penalty shoot-out. "It's bad luck to go out this way," said Čech, while admitting the home team could have more clinical. "We missed three or four good chances and that's why we're not in the next round."
Čech told uefa.com he was nevertheless proud of Porto's efforts, particularly after they were reduced to ten men following Fucile's 82nd minute dismissal, which he thought might allow the German side to establish a decisive advantage. "We thought maybe they would attack more as it was an opportunity for them to score a goal and decide the game, especially in extra-time," said the 25-year-old. In the end the home side continued to press and create the better chances, and Čech said the team passed even their own expectations in terms of stamina and application. "It was surprising to me that we were playing with a player less and playing so well," he said
The Slovakian admitted the disappointment in the dressing room was particularly acute as the squad had set their sights high in the competition, after winning a group stage in which they faced both Liverpool FC and Olympique de Marseille. "We're very sad, as we were hoping to go all the way to the final," he admitted. Čech believes his side will recover sufficiently to console themselves with a third successive Portuguese Liga title. "We have to accept [the UEFA Champions League] is finished and prepare properly for our domestic league," he said.
Čech's fellow full-back Bosingwa, so influential in the first-half before later being forced off through injury, agreed that Porto had left no stone unturned in their efforts to overcome Schalke. "We did everything possible to win the game and to go through," said the Portuguese international. "We played a really good home leg, creating a lot of chances, and we had a lot of possession." Bosingwa was however magnanimous in defeat, and admitted that the Germans' goalkeeper Neuer had ultimately made the difference. "We have to offer congratulations to Schalke's goalkeeper," he said. "He was outstanding."