Matondo: Defeat tough to take after fightback
Rabbi Matondo was philosophical in defeat after Manchester City bowed out of the UEFA Youth League at the semi-final stage.
The Welsh winger’s disappointment was evident, but he reflected with some pride at the way in which the young Blues performed with 10 men in the second half.
Simon Davies' side were forced to do it the hard way against Barcelona, trailing 5-2 at half-time after Lorenzo Gonzalez was dismissed for a second bookable offence in the 36th minute and Matondo was part of the second half cavalry, who came so close to forcing penalties.
It finished 5-4, with the 17-year-old netting City’s third to inspire some hope of a comeback and though that didn’t transpire, he’s satisfied with he and his team-mates efforts in the circumstances.
“Responding like that with 10 men; we can be proud of that,” said Matondo.
“We reacted in the second half how we should have done in the first, but we were unlucky and we fell short in the end.
“It’s just hard to take because we did so well to get it back to one goal.
We knew it would be a hard task at half time, but coming as close as we did, we’re all very down, but we’ll learn from this.
“It happens in football and we know next time we’ll have to manage the game better and get the result.”
Introduced at half time, Matondo made the desired impact with his goal, driving inside off the left flank and smashing one past the Barcelona ‘keeper.
It had a galvanising effect on City, who up until that point, had looked unlikely to stage a fight back.
There may well be a case of what might have been for our youngsters, who were carved open a number of times in the first half and Matondo admits that though we could have done better defensively, there are positives to take.
“The first half was done,” he added.
“If we hadn’t conceded five goals it would have been easier, but at half time you can’t do anything about that so you’ve just got to react.
“We knew we should have done better defensively, but after the break we improved and that’s all the manager can ask and all we can ask of ourselves as players.
“We tried our best to get a result but it wasn’t meant to be I guess.”