As expected, the comments from Manchester City and their manager Manuel Pellegrini were mostly about how the referee ruined their match with the red card and the penalty, while Tata Martino was throwing around the obligatory it’s not over yet although Barcelona can already start thinking about the quarterfinals.
The most talked about incident was the penalty kick that led to Barcelona’s first goal and Martin Demichelis getting sent off. In a play that led to the goal, Sergio Busquets dispossessed Jesus Navas without a foul. Andres Iniesta found Lionel Messi in space and Demichelis tripped him just outside the box from behind. Foul – yes; red card – yes. Penalty? No. Not that Eriksson didn’t make mistakes in City’s favor: A first half penalty kick for a handball that he didn’t call, and an offside that stopped Barcelona from scoring another goal, even though there was none.
Pellegrini: The referee did not have any control of the game. He decided for Barcelona from the beginning to the end. I think it was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in such an important match and a referee who made a mistake against Barcelona in the group stages. From the beginning I felt the referee was not impartial to both teams.
The referee decided the game. Before the penalty, it was a foul on Navas when he was three metres from the play so he could see it. And it was not a penalty, it was outside the box. A big game with two important teams, that kind of game needs a referee with more experience. This referee whistled the Barcelona-Milan game in the group and he made an important error against Barcelona. Today he remedied it. T
he contact was outside the box. You cannot continue the foul: the first foul was outside the box. Barcelona did not have chances before the goal. It was a pity because that important action decided the game. laying 40 minutes with one player less is difficult against Barcelona but we played well with one player less and in the last minute they scored the second goal.
You can expect Pellegrini to get a nice little suspension from UEFA for suggesting the referee was in favor of Barcelona, and incompetent in general. Managers do need to think and actually see replays before they make such allegations.
Martino: I am not taking it for granted but it is true we have done a good game away and we just have to repeat the same performance. We are going to keep on playing with the same intensity and the same commitment. We have a very tough rival at the same level. The only difference is we won an away game but we cannot forget that City lost at home to Munich and then won an away game. What I can say about Messi is his commitment to the team was really good. Every game is a chance to prove ourselves. We cannot forget we lost against Valencia 10 days ago but we are in a good moment right now.
It’s always more boring to read the comments from the match winners, especially when they’re not trying to rub it in.