Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri admitted that Monaco’s first-half stoppage time goal was the turning point of the match as he watched his team fail to overturn a two-goal deficit at Stamford Bridge in last night’s Champions Leaue semi-final.
A 2-2 draw on the night put Monaco into final against Porto 5-3 on aggregate, and but for that goal from Hugo Ibarra, Chelsea might easily have prevailed.
“We played very, very well in the first half. We put them under a lot of pressure, dominated the match and had a lot of chances,” Ranieri said.
“But when we conceded the goal just before half-time, that changed things for us. If we had gone in with 2-0 it is a different match – they have to attack and we can play on the counter.”
There was a suspicion of handball about Ibarra’s goal but Ranieri refused to criticise the referee.
“Yes I think it hit his hand but the referee did not see it. What can you do.”
The Italian defiantly defended his record in what is expected to be his last season in charge at Stamford Bridge.
“A lot of clubs have spent a lot of money and didn’t arrive where Chelsea have arrived,” he said.
“I think Roman Abramovich’s (club owner) money was very well spent.”