Juventus manager Max Allegri says referees, yes plural, decided the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal between his club and Real Madrid.
The Serie A powers clawed their way back from a 3-0 first leg deficit and seemed destined for extra time after two goals from Mario Mandzukic and an equalizer from Blaise Matuidi.
[ RECAP: Real 1-3 (4-3 agg.) Juve ]
But Mehdi Benatia knocked down Lucas Vasquez before the latter could head home a stoppage time winner, and Cristiano Ronaldo converted the penalty awarded by Michael Oliver.
That added to Allegri’s frustration from a first leg, stoppage time penalty not given to Juve in Turin.
“I feel bad for the lads who did well in Turin for 60 minutes and didn’t score the goals they did tonight,” Allegri said via Football Italia. “The penalty tonight was basically the reverse of what happened on Juan Cuadrado in the first leg… I said even at the time that incident would decide qualification.”
[ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo reacts ]
Allegri also said he was saving a pair of what he believed to be game-changing substitutions for extra time, and said the ref decided the tie.
Gianluigi Buffon, who was sent off for his protest of Oliver’s decision, was less reserved, saying Oliver wanted to play a major role in the match (from Football Italia):
“Clearly you cannot have a heart in your chest, but a garbage bin. On top of that, if you don’t have the character to walk on a pitch like this in a stadium like this, you can sit in the stands with your wife, your kids, drinking your Sprite and eating crisps.
“You cannot ruin the dreams of a team. I could’ve told the referee anything at that moment, but he had to understand the degree of the disaster he was creating. If you can’t handle the pressure and have the courage to make a decision, then you should just sit in the stands and eat your crisps.”
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli was also quite angry, calling for VAR after the game.
“The referee tonight was in total chaos,” Agnelli said. “It’s a pity, the performance of the boys remains, we confirmed – as did PSG last season and Roma last night – proved you can come back from 3-0 down to turn things around.”
The penalty is one of those calls that is only controversial because of when it took place, as most wouldn’t begrudge the award were it not stoppage time of a UEFA Champions League decider.