TURIN, APril 15- Monaco striker Dimitar Berbatov insisted their Champions League campaign is far from over despite the visitors succumbing to a controversial 1-0 defeat at Juventus in the first leg of their quarter-final on Tuesday.
Leonardo Jardim’s French league hopefuls travelled to Turin looking to shock the Italian champions amid what has been a hugely promising season, only to be undone by an Arturo Vidal penalty just before the hour.
Despite Monaco’s shaky form at home in the competition this season — they have won two, drawn one and lost the other — the 34-year-old former Manchester United striker believes the tie is far from over.
“We’re not happy with the result, and because of the penalty the referee gave against us. But there’s one more game to go so we’re optimistic we can do something and go through to the next round,” Berbatov said.
“We played perfect. Juventus had chances to score, we had chances to score, and I believe we still have chances to qualify for the next round.”
He added: “We prepared well for tonight’s game. Unfortunately we lost but everyone played well. Hopefully we can do the same in Monaco and qualify, because we know that we can do it.”
The win has given Juventus the upper hand ahead of the return leg in the Principality on April 22, but Monaco will be out to avenge what angry coach Jardim called an “unfair decision”.
“I like justice. And for me rights and rules have to be the same for everybody, in life not just in sport,” he said.
“I’m disappointed. We played a good game, we’ve got to the quarters and I don’t think the score truly reflects our performance.
“The result is down to a wrong decision made by the match referee.”
Juventus dominated for long spells against a defensively-stubborn Monaco and spurned several opportunities in a busy first half to put the match beyond doubt before the referee pointed to the spot following a Ricardo Carvalho foul on Alvaro Morata that seemed to be just outside the area.
Referee Pavel Kralovec waved away Monaco’s protests and Vidal stepped up to smash the ball past Danijel Subasic and into the top corner in the 57th minute.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri had warned on Monday that Monaco — who had conceded only four goals in their past eight Champions League games — would be a tough nut to crack.
“The result was good — we didn’t concede a goal so we’ve got a small advantage, but it won’t be easy in Monaco,” said Allegri.
“They’re a very defensive side and they have a lot of young players with pace. In the opening period we suffered during a 15 minute period and then turned things around in the second.
“But 1-0 will not be enough if we’re to go through to the semi-finals. We have to play a different kind of game in Monaco and, above all, score a goal”, he added.
“But I have to repeat: whoever thought Monaco were an easy team to play against are wrong.”