March 15, 2018 / 12:51 AM / 9 months ago

Soccer-Conte says Chelsea loss to Barca was 'unfair'

BARCELONA, March 15 (Reuters) - Antonio Conte insisted Barcelona’s Champions League win over Chelsea on Wednesday was unfair after his team’s valiant efforts were overshadowed by Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou.

Messi scored twice and set up Ousmane Dembele for the other as the hosts won 3-0 and progressed to the quarter-finals 4-1 on aggregate.

Chelsea, however, were unlucky after they were again denied by the woodwork.

Willian had been robbed by the post twice in the first leg while on Wednesday a Marcos Alonso free-kick smacked off the post while Antonio Rudiger headed against the woodwork late on.

“We have no regrets,” said Conte. “If you watch the game, you can see the final result is unfair.

“We conceded a goal, our start was terrible. We hit the post four times, this is very strange.

“I must be honest, I have to be very proud about my players, we have to continue together this way, with this will to fight, this desire to fight together.”

Chelsea were the better team in the 1-1 first leg draw but in Catalonia they were dismantled by Messi, who twice fired through the legs of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to take him to 100 Champions League goals.

Chelsea’s Belgian goalkeeper admitted he made mistakes but said he must take that on the chin.

“(For) the first goal I didn’t expect Lionel Messi to shoot from that angle and I was too late in closing my legs. It was a mistake on my part,” said Courtois.

“It’s annoying but I don’t think I have to hide inside. I have to come out and be a man and show you made a mistake and move on.” (Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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