The New Zealand Herald

Guardiola blasts ref after Manchester City eliminated

- James Ducker — Telegraph Group Ltd

Pep Guardiola launched a scathing attack on the referee after being sent off at the Etihad Stadium as the Manchester City manager blamed the officials for his side’s Champions League quarter-final exit.

Guardiola watched the second half of City’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool yesterday from the stands after remonstrat­ing with and sarcastica­lly gesturing at Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz on the pitch at the end of the first half following a decision to incorrectl­y rule a goal from Leroy Sane offside.

The City manager said he warned his players about Lahoz amid concern the referee had been put in charge of the game. Lahoz had denied Sergio Aguero a penalty in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie against Monaco last season, which City ended up losing on away goals.

“I said [to Lahoz] it was a goal, I didn’t insult him,” Guardiola said. “I was polite, I was correct, but Mateu Lahoz is a special guy, he likes to be different, he likes to be special.

“I know what happened in Monaco last season, so he is a referee whenever people see the things, he will see the opposite. It’s too much to send me off because I didn’t say any wrong words.

“I just said, ‘It’s a goal, the ball came off [James] Milner’. He said, ‘Oh the pass came from Milner?’ And I said, ‘Yes, it came from Milner. It is not offside’. If we go to 2-0 against that side, it is a little bit different.

“The first goal from Salah in the second half made us change the way we played and we were tired. But I know him [Lahoz] from Spain, so I could imagine that. We spoke about that. We know him. The players felt it. But please, Liverpool deserved to go through.”

Guardiola’s dismay with the officials was not confined to yesterday, though, as the City manager reeled off a list of decisions he felt went against him in the 3-0 first-leg defeat at Anfield last week.

“It’s different when [ Mo] Salah’s goal at Anfield is offside,” Guardiola said. “It’s different when Gabriel Jesus’ goal at Anfield is offside. It’s a penalty for Raheem Sterling from Andy Robertson in front of the fourth official. Of course they have an influence.

“Big congratula­tions to Liverpool, hopefully they can represent England well in the semifinal.

“We made an outstandin­g 45 minutes but like last season against Monaco with Aguero, when it is a clear penalty and the same referee, in this competitio­n, the teams are so equal, the impact [of decisions] is so big.”

For all Guardiola’s complaints about the officials over the two games, City’s 5-1 aggregate defeat was the latest in a growing line of failures in the competitio­n for the Catalan. The damage in this instance was done in the first leg, when he employed an unfamiliar system that featured Ilkay Gundogan on the right wing and centre half Aymeric Laporte at left back.

The concession of three goals in 19 minutes at Anfield continued a worrying trend of his teams being cut open in sudden bursts. Real Madrid scored three in 18 minutes against Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in the second leg of their semifinal in 2014 and Barcelona three times in 13 minutes at the same stage the following year.

Last season, City trailed Monaco 3-2 before winning 5-3 but then conceded two goals in 21 minutes against the French club in the second leg and went out on away goals.

Roma sent favourites Barcelona crashing out with a sensationa­l 3-0 win. Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi from the penalty spot and Kostas Manolas with an 82nd-minute header gave Roma a famous victory to send the Serie A side through on away goals after Barcelona won 4-1 at home in the first leg last week.

Roma advance to the last four for the first time since reaching the European Cup final in 1984. TENNIS

 ?? Picture / AP ?? Mo Salah ensured Liverpool remained in control of their Champions League quarter-final when he equalised at Manchester City yesterday.
Picture / AP Mo Salah ensured Liverpool remained in control of their Champions League quarter-final when he equalised at Manchester City yesterday.

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