Fuming Guardiola blames referees for City's Euro exit

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the Champions League quarter final second leg against Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium April 10, 2018. — Reuters pic
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the Champions League quarter final second leg against Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium April 10, 2018. — Reuters pic

MANCHESTER, April 11 — Pep Guardiola launched a scathing attack on the standard of refereeing over both legs of Manchester City's chastening Champions League defeat against Liverpool in the wake of yesterday's match at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola's side were condemned to a 5-1 aggregate exit after losing 2-1 to Liverpool in yesterday's quarter-final second leg at Eastlands.

But the City manager felt it could have been a different outcome if decisions from the officials had gone his team's way in both matches.

Liverpool took the lead in the first leg with a goal that came from Mohamed Salah's offside run, while City were denied what might have been a crucial second goal in the return leg.

After losing the first leg 3-0, City were leading through Gabriel Jesus's opener and Guardiola thought they had scored again when Leroy Sane prodded home.

But the strike was wrongly ruled out for offside and Liverpool went on to win thanks to goals from Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Guardiola was incensed by the decision, earning himself a seat in the stands as he was sent off at half-time for his furious on-pitch rant at referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz.

“I said it was a goal when the ball was passed to Leroy Sane. That's why he sent me off. It would have been different to go in 2-0,” Guardiola moaned.

“It's different when Salah's goal at Anfield is offside. It's different when Gabriel Jesus' goal at Anfield is offside.

“In this competition the teams are so equal and the influence of refereeing decisions is so important.”

City's European exit capped a wretched week, which also saw them blow the chance to clinch the Premier League title on Saturday when Manchester United came from two goals down to beat their bitter rivals.

With the title still to be wrapped up, Guardiola called on his players to make one last push at the end of what had been a fabulous campaign until the last seven days.

“We'll go again next season. Big congratulations to Liverpool,” he added.

“Hopefully they can represent England well in the semi-final.

“We've had 10 amazing months. We have to recover mentally for the six games remaining.

“Our 10-month winning spell is exceptional. You have to analyse game by game.” — AFP

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