Man City 0 Barcelona 2: Pellegrini fumes at referee’s ‘mistakes’
Man City 0 Barcelona 2: Manuel Pellegrini fumes over the performance of referee Jonas Eriksson in last-16 clash
A fuming Manuel Pellegrini claimed that the referee “decided the game” after his Manchester City side were beaten by Barcelona in the Champions League last 16 first leg.
After a goalless first half at Etihad Stadium, Lionel Messi gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot after the Argentine was brought down by Martin Demichelis nine minutes after the restart.
The foul of Demichelis was outside the box so it’s not a penalty
Referee Jonas Eriksson awarded the spot-kick and sent Demichelis off, despite the foul appearing to have taken place just outside the box.
The 10 men of City battled hard and David Silva forced a good save from Victor Valdes, but Barca doubled their lead in stoppage time when Dani Alves drilled his shot through Joe Hart’s legs.
“The referee decided the game because it was a foul from Sergio Busquets on Jesus Navas – the referee was three metres away and didn’t blow the whistle,” said Pellegrini. ”
“After that, the foul of Demichelis was outside the box so it’s not a penalty. Such important mistakes against a great team like Barcelona makes it very difficult to win.
“I think it’s a mistake to nominate a referee that had problems with Barcelona when maybe he made mistakes in Milan [last season]. I repeat once again, he decided the game.”
Despite the uphill task of having to overturn a 2-0 deficit, Pellegrini insisted that his side have not given up hope of reaching the quarter-finals.
“We are going to try at Camp Nou, of course,” he continued. “We did it against Bayern Munich when we lost here at home.
“But of course the second goal came in a difficult moment because the match was ending. But we’ll see what we can do there.”