Champions League officiating 'an absolute joke' in Roma-Liverpool semifinal - James Pallotta



Posted Thursday, May 03, 2018 by ESPN

Champions League officiating 'an absolute joke' in Roma-Liverpool semifinal - James Pallotta

Roma president James Pallotta hit out at the officiating in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal against Liverpool on Wednesday, calling it "an absolute joke" and insisting that a video assistant referee (VAR) would have helped overturn calls he perceived went in the visitors' favour.

Although Roma won 4-2, Liverpool advanced 7-6 on aggregate at the Stadio Olimpico, and Pallotta pointed to a number of decisions that went against his side and prevented them from moving on.

"It's absolutely clear that VAR is needed in the Champions League because you just can't let stuff like this go," Pallotta said. "You can all look at it yourself on the film. [Edin Dzeko] potentially in the 49th minute wasn't offside and he got taken down by the goalie.

"The 63rd minute was a handball [by Trent Alexander-Arnold] that was obvious to everybody in probably the world, expect the few people on the pitch. The 67th minute, [Patrik] Schick gets taken down in the box."

Pallotta acknowledged that refereeing can be difficult but said it's "embarrassing" to lose on aggregate the way Roma did.

"By the way, it should have been a red card, which would have been 10 men in the 63rd minute," Pallotta said, referring to Alexander-Arnold being in the area at the time of the handball.

"Again, Liverpool's a great team -- congratulations going forward -- but if we don't get VAR in the Champions League, stuff like this is an absolute joke."

Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco admitted his side made life too difficult for themselves despite the late rally and that the penalty protests did nothing to help their ultimate cause.

"We have grown through this experience, but I have regrets because this team should've believed more in its chances, we could've had more goals and pushed Liverpool even more," Di Francesco told Mediaset Premium.

"I am first of all disappointed at our exit and I tell the players well done, because reacting like that and putting Liverpool on the ropes was almost perfect in the second half.

"It'd be important for Roma to be protagonists in the Champions League again next season, but first we have to secure our place in Serie A. We've proved we can compete in the tournament after a journey that was not easy, but I am not going to settle for that. We can do more.

"We gifted them two goals thanks in part to our naivety,.But after that we had them on the ropes. The boys did something amazing. It was almost the perfect game."

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