April 5, 2018 / 12:24 AM / 8 months ago

Roma boss blames referee for 'unfair' thrashing at Barca

BARCELONA (Reuters) - AS Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco blamed his side’s 4-1 Champions League defeat at Barcelona on unfavourable refereeing decisions and misfortune after his side scored two own goals and had two penalty appeals turned down on Wednesday.

Soccer Football - Champions League Quarter Final First Leg - FC Barcelona vs AS Roma - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - April 4, 2018 Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco reacts REUTERS/Juan Medina

Dutch referee Danny Makkelie waved away Italian cries for a spot-kick when Edin Dzeko was pushed over by Nelson Semedo early in the quarter-final first leg and later awarded a free kick instead of a penalty when Samuel Umtiti tripped Lorenzo Pellegrini.

Roma captain Danielle de Rossi unwittingly put Barca ahead late in the first half as he slid to block a through ball and sent it fizzing into his own net and Kostas Manolas hit the post and bundled the ball over the line 10 minutes after the interval to double the hosts’ lead.

“Danielle made an error that can always happen and Manolas also had bad luck so of course we made mistakes but Barcelona are good enough without receiving help from the referees,” Roma coach Di Francesco told reporters.

“The Semedo challenge on Dzeko was a clear penalty and we could have had another with Pellegrini. It’s very unfair given how well we played tonight. They scored four goals and that’s very harsh on us given what we saw.

“We made mistakes in the final pass but we showed desire and talent to take something more away. We managed the game very well and our errors have cost us.”

Gerard Pique added a third shortly after Manolas’s own goal and Luis Suarez restored Barca’s three-goal advantage in the tie after Dzeko had pulled one back for the Serie A side following a late flurry of chances.

Suarez rejected suggestions that Barca had not deserved to win so easily at the Nou Camp.

“If we don’t get to the area with good combination play, those goals can’t happen,” said the Uruguayan, who ended a drought of 10 Champions League games without a goal.

“We had a lot of chances to score and their keeper had a great game, the result is not unfair.”

Pique also denied that Barca were lucky.

“We hit the post a couple of times and the own goals happened because we kept on putting them under pressure, making sure the ball was in their area far more than ours,” he said.

Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond

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