Malaga news

Pellegrini: Refs 'did not want us' to win

April 10, 2013
By ESPN staff

Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini has launched a stinging attack on the Champions League match officials as his side twice surrendered the lead to be knocked out of the competition with a 3-2 quarter-final loss to Dortmund.

Malaga players react to losing 3-2 to Dortmund
GettyImages / PATRIK STOLLARZMalaga players react to losing 3-2 to Dortmund

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Malaga, leading 2-1 away from home, were only minutes away from a famous victory in the club's history when disaster struck, the Germans scoring two goals in injury time to seal a semi-final berth.

However, Dortmund's final goal, Felipe Santana bundling home from close range, was mired in controversy, with Malaga players demanding the goal be wiped out for offside.

But the calls fell on deaf ears, with referee Craig Thomson calling full-time minutes later and signalling celebrations throughout the stadium.

And an infuriated Pellegrini was quick to paint Thomson and his assistants as the villains behind the Spaniards' exit from the competition.

"They did not want us in the semi-finals," Pellegrini said. "After it went 2-1 for us, there were so many refereeing mistakes.

"The third goal was a hammer blow for us. There were two dismissals, and there was also their offside in the act of making it 3-2.

"In the final 10 minutes, we were so impaired (by the officials). In such conditions, everything becomes very difficult."

And despite the 59-year-old believing the 'bitterness' of the loss would linger over the club for a long time, he hoped his players would be able to re-group, show their mental toughness and finish the La Liga season with a flourish.

"It is certainly not a bitterness that will go away from one day to the next," the Chilean coach lamented. "You can talk about a cruel defeat, but I do not agree, we have played a great game.

"Now we are looking to finish the championship as best we can."