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English Premiership

Ref to blame as Etihad gets ‘Mess-ed’

PELLEGRINI-BARCALONDON, England, February19- Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has slated Jonas Eriksson following Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 defeat to Barcelona, claiming the referee had “decided the game”.

The Citizens managed to head into the half-time break at the Etihad Stadium with the scores still goalless, having largely been able to contain the Catalan giants’ attacking intent, while creating a few decent chances themselves.

However, the tide turned dramatically shortly after the restart as Martin Demichelis was red carded for a foul on Lionel Messi inside the area, with the Argentina international dusting himself off to slot home the resulting penalty before Dani Alves added a second in injury time.

And Pellegrini had plenty of issues with the penalty call, claiming that not only had contact between Demichelis and Messi been outside the box, but that Jesus Navas had earlier been fouled in the build-up, only to see the match official wave play-on.

Speaking after the first-leg, Pellegrini told Sky Sports: “Of course I have a complaint, not only for the penalty and the red card.

“I think in the whole match we didn’t have a referee with impartiality to both teams.

“He decided the game. He decided the game because it was a foul by (Sergio) Busquets on Navas. The referee was three metres away and he didn’t blow the whistle and after that the foul from Demichelis is outside the box, it’s not a penalty.

“Important mistakes against a great team like Barcelona make it difficult to win.”

-TEAMtalk Media

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