A penalty miss by Radamel Falcao left Monaco with plenty of Champions League regrets after they let a 2-1 lead at Manchester City turn into a devastating 5-3 defeat, according to coach Leonardo Jardim.
Some of the Ligue 1 leaders said they had gifted the game to City and despite his two goals, Falcao’s stuttering runup before his penalty miss was singled out as the turning point.
“The key moment of the match was when we failed to go 3-1 up,” said Jardim of the error. “Then they came back to 2-2.”
City defender Bacary Sagna also said Falcao’s 50th minute miss had inspired his side. “I think the penalty helped a lot,” Sagna told BeIn Sports. “It’s a turning point of the match — it gave us a boost again and I think it was a blow to them too.”
For Falcao, who had disappointing spells with Chelsea and Manchester United before returning to Monaco it was the second straight Champions League penalty miss.
It was a “disappointment”, was his only comment after.
Other Monaco players were more open about the crushing blow.
“After the first half, we could not believe there would be a two goal losing difference at the end,” said striker Valère Germain.
“There are regrets as well because we let two goals in from free kicks,” he added. “There are a lot of regrets. If Falcao had scored …”
But Germain insisted that Pep Guardiola’s City side could never have been under-estimated. “They are used to playing the Champions League, they were semi-finalists last year.”
“We played a good match, but we gave away presents and let in five goals,” said defender Andrea Raggi.
“We are going to try to win at home. It is still open, we haven’t lost yet. We missed a penalty and let in a goal that was not good, the confidence went down,” added the Italian veteran.
“It really hurts to let in five goals.”
Jardim said the last 16 game was one of the “most incredible” seen in the Champions League this year.
“Everyone was happy to see these two teams. There was a lot of quality attacking. Eight goals. But there were a few defensive errors too.”
The Monaco coach, who has already been linked to a Premier League future, said it was still possible to come back and still had good words for Falcao despite the miss.
“He is a great attacker. It didn’t work for him in England but he showed in this game that he is a great scorer.”