Atalanta Bergamo bravely defends itself against PSG and superstar Neymar for 90 minutes. But Mario Pasalic's leadership is not enough in the end. "We almost felt like winners," says the coach.
Lisbon / Bergamo (dpa) - Atalanta's coach Gian Piero Gasperini was able to smile again just a few minutes after the last minute knockout. "Of course it hurts, we almost felt like winners," said the coach after the 1: 2 in the Champions League quarter-finals against Paris Saint-Germain.
"But we still have the joy of having played a great season and playing against the best teams in Europe. The people in Bergamo will celebrate us, celebrate for our performance. My team gave everything."
With splendid games, Atalanta gave the industrial city in Lombardy, which was so badly affected by the corona pandemic, distraction and joy at times and delighted with third place in Serie A and the entry into the final tournament of the European premier football league. The fact that it was just not enough against Paris because of two goals conceded in the 90th minute and in stoppage time was bitter for the outsider with German midfielder Robin Gosens. "Not sooo!" Complained the newspaper "Gazzetta dello Sport" on Thursday.
The northern Italians had bravely fought against the individually clearly superior Parisians around superstar Neymar and the substitute world champion Kylian Mbappé for 90 minutes and had even taken the lead through Mario Pasalic. In the end it is not enough.
"There is nothing else to say than that we are proud of this team," tweeted Bergamo's Mayor Giorgio Gori. The daily newspaper "Tuttosport" also had a big headline: "We are proud of you." The "Corriere della Sera" wrote: "What a shame, Atalanta."
The club, reverently called "Goddess" (La Dea) in Bergamo, will embark on its second Champions League adventure next season. Then those responsible are hoping for home games with fans again. The first leg of the last 16 against Valencia CF in Milan with tens of thousands of Tifosi in February was one of the events that provoked the fatal spread of the corona virus. More than 15,000 infections have so far been counted in the Bergamo province.
On Wednesday evening, the residents of Bergamo sat spellbound in front of the TVs, small public viewing events were watched together - and mostly in compliance with the precautionary measures. "We are very proud of the boys," said club president Luca Percassi on Sky. "We have to be happy."
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Title page "Tuttosport"
Front page "Gazzetta dello Sport"
Tweet Mayor Gori