FC Nantes crashed out of the Europa League playoff round following a 3-0 home loss against Juventus. Argentine international Angel Di Maria scored a hat-trick to shatter Les Canaris’ hopes of an upset.
The former PSG man scored a sublime goal in the first five minutes before coolly dispatching a penalty given after Nicolas Pallois handled the ball in the box. Di Maria capped off his hat trick with a header in the second half. Nantes head coach Antoine Kombouaré lamented his side’s start, which left his team two goals and a man down. “It was over then, said the former PSG manager in a press conference attended by L’Équipe. There’s no disappointment because we weren’t up to the task.”
Kombouaré also regretted the harsh dismissal of Pallois so early in the game and the fact that VAR did not call Spanish referee José María Sánchez to review the situation. The Kanak coach also did not shy from his responsibilities as several of his choices in the starting line-up were questioned. “Considering we lost in the wake of a catastrophic start, I’m the first one responsible.” Although the European journey ended here for Nantes, Kombouaré wanted to underline his side’s campaign. “We managed to play against Juventus and we maintained hope after the first leg. We must always remember the positive things. Having the public thanking us proves that we did a good job.” Nantes will host arch-rivals Rennes on Sunday.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval