ONLY FIVE WEEK’S AFTER BARCA-MILAN GAFFE, THOMSON TURNS A BLIND EYE TO SPANISH CLUB’S OFFSIDE PROTESTS:
A controversial goal has tainted Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League quarter-final victory over Malaga after Scottish referee Craig Thomson refused to whistle-down Felipe Santana`s injury time winner for a blatant offside.
At least three Dortmund players were clearly in offside positions when the initial cross was played into the Malaga penalty area in the final minute of extra time.
During the ensuing goalmouth scramble, Sanata also moved into an offside position, before receiving the ball and firing home the winner while the Spanish visitors protested to Thomson.
You couldn`t blame the Bundesliga club and their fans for celebrating a miraculous comeback. It was quite the spectacle, since it was they who trailed the visitors 2-1 before the four minutes of stoppage time.
It is not the first time this year Thomson has been at the centre of a Champions League firestorm, making many wonder UEFA rewards referees for errors by re-selecting them for high profile games.
Thompson allowed a goal by AC Milan to stand in a Round of 16 first leg match on February 20 against Barcelona, even though not one but two Milan players had clearly handled the ball leading up to the goal.
In his post-match comments after Tuesday`s loss in Dortmund, Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini blasted Thomson and his officiating crew for failing to spot the multiple offsides.
“After we went up 2-1, there was no refereeing,” Pellegrini said. “They pushed us into our area with shoves and elbows. They had two players who should have been sent off, and two offside violations during the third goal that shouldn’t have counted. We are leaving with a very bitter feeling.”
Supporters of either team could empathize with Pellegrini and his plight, since prior to the second leg the veteran Argentine coach has just returned to his homeland to attend his father`s funeral.
Spain’s sports newspapers denounced Thomson’s no-call in their headlines with sports daily Marca questioning the call and using large block letters “Offside” in its headline.
Twitter was inundated with posts slamming the call, accompanied by a near-viral screengrab images clearly showing multimple Dortmund players standing in offside positions:
Good pic of four Dortmund players offside for winning goal. Someone must be interfering with play: twitter.com/markcarter1986…
— RedCardEditor (@RedCardTheRef1) April 9, 2013
Others were less controlled in their social media responses.
Malaga owner Abdullah Bin Nasser ranted on Twiter that his team’s elimination was due to “racism.”
“Thank you very much for the team you have been Champions On the pitch I’m sorry to go out this way injustice and racism,” he Tweeted.
While stating that he hopes for a formal investigation into the match by officials at UEFA, the owner`s stunning comments may soon also be under investigation from the governing body.
Part of his motivation for the comments could be that Malaga will be prohibited by UEFA from participating in the Champions League tournament next season due to financial irregularities.
There are always two sides to any referee controversy, as Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp exhibited when he said he didn’t find any fault with Thomson’s decisions.
“I can understand their disappointment, but I didn’t think the referee had a bad game,” said Klopp.
Malaga’s second goal scored by Eliseu in the 82nd minute, appeared to be offside but Thomson also allowed it to stand.
Dortmund players clearly protested the goal after Malaga had seemingly put themselves into the semi-finals with what appeared to be the winner.
A bewildering decision by Thomson also occurred 20 minutes prior to Malaga`s highly questionable second goal. Dortmund’s Marcel Schmeltzer collided at full-speed with Malaga’s Jesus Gamez near the sideline. Television replays showed Schmeltzer smashing into Gamez`head with his forearms and twisting the player’s neck as he ran past. Instead of giving Schmenltzer a yellow card (or even a red) for dangerous play and intent to injure, Thomson reached into his pocket and awarded Gamez the yellow card.
After witnessing Tuesday`s officiating debacle, many soccer fans are now hoping the governing body makes its referee choice for the second round a little more carefully.
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