Olivier Giroud accuses Paris Saint-Germain midfielder of 'tricking' referee in bid to get him sent off
Olivier Giroud has accused Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti of tricking the referee into sending the Arsenal striker off during Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw in the Champions League.
Both Giroud and Verratti were shown second yellow cards by Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai after they clashed off the ball, with Verratti’s PSG teammate Marquinhos also becoming involved as he rushed to confront the Arsenal striker.
The subsequent red card proved to be Giroud’s second dismissal in the space of a year in the Champions League after he was also sent-off in the 2-1 defeat by Dinamo Zagreb last September, but the France international has pleaded his innocence and accused Verratti of play acting in an attempt to get Giroud sent-off.
“I'd already been booked so didn't want to make trouble,” Giroud said after the match in Paris. “I made a small challenge on Verratti but he threw himself onto the ground.
“I didn't understand, so I asked him, "what are you doing?", then he got up quickly and Marquinhos pushed me from behind.
“I don't know how Verratti fell over a second time. I didn't go looking for trouble so it's frustrating.
"I think that the referee was tricked. Verratti was also on a yellow, so I was surprised by his behaviour.”
The incident – which occurred in the final minute of injury-time – means that both players now face a one-match suspension in Europe, which rules Giroud out of the match against Basel at the Emirates in two weeks’ time and forces Verratti to miss the away trip to Bulgarian side Ludogorets.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger attempted to try and have the red cards overturned by talking to both Giroud and Verratti and urging them to go and speak with Kassai together after the match, although there is no ruling that allows a red card caused by two bookings to be appealed.
"And Verratti told me as well that he has done nothing, so I said look, ‘go together to see the referee and tell him you did nothing’."
Independent News Service