Soccer

PSG players claim referee swore at them during UEFA Champions League semifinal loss to Manchester City

Paris Saint-Germain’s UEFA Champions League semifinal second-leg defeat to Manchester City finished in acrimony as Angel Di Maria saw red and four players were booked. Riyad Mahrez scored once in either half to complete a 2-0 win at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday for a 4-1 aggregate success that takes Pep Guardiola’s men to the final.

Ander Herrera, Marco Verratti, Presnel Kimpembe and Danilo Pereira were also booked in the defeat. After the game, Herrera and Verratti claimed that referee Bjorn Kuipers swore at them during the match, which featured numerous altercations in the second half.

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“We talk about respect towards referees…” Herrera told RMC Sport post-match. “The ref said ‘f— you’ to Leandro [Paredes]. If we say that, we get a three or four-match ban.”

“I was also told ‘f— you’ a few times,” added Verratti to RMC. “If I say that, I get a 10-match suspension. Of course, I speak with the ref a lot. However, never to say ‘f— you.’

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino acknowledged his players’ comments, but insisted that the Dutch official’s behavior did not change the fact that his team gave everything and still lost

“The players are saying this about what went on out there,” said the Argentine to RMC. “We cannot change the result, though. You can lose, but always give everything. I am really proud of the players as they gave it their all.”

PSG sporting director Leonardo also spoke with RMC after the game. He was not as polite as Pochettino on the topic of Herrera and Verratti’s allegations and slammed the officiating. “We talked about it,” he said. “It is so clear that I will not even comment about it. It is a shame. I think that there were a lot of situations that were so poorly handled that it was not possible.”

Leonardo challenged the refereeing last weekend as PSG won 2-1 at home to RC Lens in Ligue 1 with a number of hefty challenges going unpunished.



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