| 5.5°C Dublin

Ibrahimovic puts referee on spot as Barca advance

ZLATAN Ibrahimovic's return to Barcelona ended with the Swede feeling "disgusted" after two Lionel Messi penalties led to AC Milan's 3-1 loss and exit from the Champions League.

Ibrahimovic was back at Camp Nou for the first time since his 2010 departure from the Spanish champions, after just one season, and while the striker set up the Italian club's lone goal from Antonio Nocerino, he was prevented from scoring.

And, after the final whistle, Ibrahimovic echoed former Inter Milan and current Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho's belief that Barca's European success has been helped by match officials following a disputed penalty decision.


"I'm just disgusted," the Sweden international said. "They are the best team in the world but at 1-1 and, playing with intelligence, you can do something. (But) I understand better why Mourinho gets upset every time he plays here -- it was not fair."

Mourinho was handed a ban last season, following defeat to Barcelona, when he accused UEFA of aiding the Catalan club towards their European Cup title in 2009.

Milan's players were left aggrieved when Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers booked Alessandro Nesta in the 40th minute for yanking down Sergio Busquets inside the area, as the pair tussled during a corner kick. It was the kind of shirt pulling that often goes unpunished in top games.

Messi stepped up to score his second spot kick of the match to put the hosts back in front, before Andres Iniesta's second-half goal sealed the win.

"The ball wasn't in play and he called it. It was weird, odd, it ruined the game," Ibrahimovic said. "I still don't understand what he whistled.

"If he calls those he should call the others."

In last year's semi-finals, Real were left with 10 men for most of the second half of their 2-0, first-leg defeat when Pepe was red carded, which led to Mourinho's criticism.