Monday 16 September 2019

'It is really embarrassing' - Roma owner says referee cost his side place in Champions League final

A disappointed Edin Dzeko applauds supporters at the end of the game
A disappointed Edin Dzeko applauds supporters at the end of the game

Chris Bascombe

Roma owner James Pallotta launched a stinging attack on the officials after Liverpool’s triumph, claiming they cost his side a place in the Champions League final.

The Boston-based owner suggested his side was denied several penalties against Liverpool by Slovenian referee Damir Skomina, with the Italian side particularly upset an apparent handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold from a Stephan El Shaarawy shot was missed by the officals.

Palotta also argued that Edin Dzeko was incorrectly flagged for offside before he was brought down by Loris Karius early in the second half.

And despite Roma being awarded two contentious penalties for handball over the two legs, Pallotta felt they should have had more.

“It is very clear VAR is needed in the Champions League because you just can’t let stuff like this happen,” he said.

“You can all look at it yourself. Potentially in the 49th minute he [Dzeko] wasn’t offside and he gets taken down by the goalie, the 63rd minute was a handball that was obviously to everyone probably in the world except except people on the pitch, the 67th minute [Patrik] Schick gets taken down in the box.

“I know it is difficult to ref but it is really embarrassing that we lose on aggregate like that.

“By the way, it should have been a red card which would have been 10 men in the 63rd minute.”

 Liverpool were inevitably unconcerned about the complaints, feeling they had grievances of their own over both games, especially with the two penalties given against them for handball.

The joyous Liverpool players were busy celebrating their achievement, however, regardless of how torturous the final moments.

“I don’t know what to say after that,” said James Milner.

“We know how to make it interesting, don’t we?

 “We know we need to do better to see out games.

“Nobody said getting to the Champions League final is easy and we’ve beaten some great teams on the way.

“It was about getting the job done and now we’re through to the final. We have to enjoy this but not for too long as we have another important game this weekend.”

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