Henry furious with Norwegian referee

May 17, 2006

Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry took their disappointment out on the referee and linesman after Arsenal lost a dramatic European Cup final.

GettyImages / Shaun BotterillRonaldinho fends off the challenge of Ljungberg

Barcelona came from behind with two goals in the last 14 minutes to take the trophy from the brave Gunners.

Arsenal captain Henry hit out at Norwegian referee Terje Hauge, who sent off Gunners keeper Jens Lehmann for a professional foul in the 18th minute.

Henry said: 'I don't know if the referee was wearing a Barcelona shirt because they kicked me all over the place. If the referee did not want us to win he should have said so from the off.

'Some of the calls were strange. I believe the referee did not do his job. I would have liked to have seen a proper referee.'

He added: 'Maybe next time I'll learn how to dive. I expect the referee to do his job but I don't think he did.'

Manager Wenger accepted the sending off but was more angry with Barca's equaliser, scored by Samuel Eto'o, which he claimed was offside.

The Arsenal boss said: 'My biggest regret is that the first goal was offside.

'When you are 11 against 10 and you concede an offside goal, it's very difficult to accept.

'Its difficult to lose the game on a wrong decision. It was offside and it is proven on TV.

'Why do we have to take it? I still don't think it's right. We have to do something about it. Yes, I am angry.'

Wenger's fury came after a bizarre incident on the day before the game involving the match officials.

Linesman Ole Hermann Borgan was photographed in a Norwegian newspaper wearing a Barcelona shirt and was removed by UEFA on the eve of the final in Paris.

Arild Sundet was brought in to replace Borgan but it was his colleague Steinar Holvik who was responsible for the decision on Eto'o's goal.

Wenger had no complaints about Lehmann's red card, given for a trip on Eto'o. Barca's Ludovic Giuly then put the ball in the empty net but play was brought back for the foul.

Wenger said: 'It looked like a red card because it was a foul outside the box. It looked to be a foul, so it's difficult to contest.

'That wasn't the most important part of the game but it was early with over 70 minutes to go.

'They kept the ball well but they weren't especially dangerous or creative. The only factor they had was fatigue.'

Arsenal went ahead through Sol Campbell's first-half header but Eto'o equalised to end Arsenal's marathon shut-out of 10 successive clean-sheets in Europe.

It was the first goal conceded by the Gunners in the Champions League for 995 minutes. Juliano Belletti grabbed the winner.

Wenger said: 'We played well. We had two or three good chances to score the second goal and as long as we didn't score, the last 20 minutes were going to be difficult.

'I never thought we had it won. I'm not naive enough to believe that with 15 minutes to go, 1-0 up with 10 men that it was won.

'I couldn't have asked for any more. My players were absolutely magnificent. They were heroes tonight but unfortunately they are not rewarded.'

The Arsenal manager's next task is to persuade skipper Henry to stay at the club.

Wenger said: 'I will try to talk to him because we have to prepare for next season.

'We have many young players in our team. We have a big future as a big team but we need Thierry Henry to achieve that.

'He has such an influence on our side and can help us become a major force in the world.

'He said he would sort it out before the World Cup and there's not long to wait now.'