Jorge Sampaoli lamented Sevilla’s missed penalties in his side’s 3-2 aggregate Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Leicester City.
Sevilla led 2-1 after the first leg despite Kasper Schmeichel saving Joaquin Correa’s spot-kick at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, but goals in either half from Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton turned the tie around and sent the Premier League champions into the quarter-finals.
After Schmeichel conceded a penalty for bringing down Vitolo following Samir Nasri’s red card for clashing with Jamie Vardy, Steven N’Zonzi saw his kick saved and Sampaoli believes the Danish goalkeeper’s heroics were crucial in Sevilla being knocked out.
“It’s been decisive that we’ve missed two penalties in the tie,” Sampaoli told his post-match press conference. “Things could have been different.
“We’ve tried different penalty takers because of who was on the field. Steven stepped up and it was a great save by Schmeichel. As a result we are going away with nothing tonight.”
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 14, 2017
Sampaoli insisted he had no intention of substituting an angry Nasri before the France international’s red card, with the coach also confused by his own dismissal from the sidelines in the closing minutes at the King Power Stadium.
“It’s not for me to evaluate why [Nasri] was sent off. The referee is the judge in these matters,” Sampaoli said after his side failed to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history.
“I was never going to take him off. He had been a key player for us. I didn’t want to take him off for tactical reasons at all. He was instrumental in taking the attack to Leicester.
“I don’t know what I was sent off. The referee didn’t tell me why. I was involved in shouting about a particular incident, but I don’t know what I was sent off for.
“We lost on a few fine details. We did not make the most of the chances we created. We had three decent chances before their second goal, which made it difficult for us.
“Obviously it became a really tall order after we went down to 10 men and missed the penalty.”
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) March 14, 2017