Kiev "tried to destroy" Walcott, fumes Wenger

September 18, 2008
By Soccernet staff

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has accused referee Luis Medina Cantalejo of turning a blind eye as Dynamo Kiev attempted to do a hatchet job on Theo Walcott during the Gunners' 1-1 Champions League draw in Ukraine.

GettyImagesWalcott (l) is marked man following his hat-trick for England against Croatia.
Wenger believes that Kiev captain Andriy Nesmachniy "tried to destroy" his 19-year-old forward, who scored a hat-trick for England last week, and added that the left-back could have been shown the red card on a number of occasions.

The Arsenal manager said: ''The referee should have sent off the left-back three times at least during the game because he destroyed Walcott.''

But Walcott had the last laugh when he provided the cross from which William Gallas equalised Ismaël Bangoura's opener, after he had scored from the penalty spot.

Despite leaving Kiev with a draw Wenger was also unhappy at the time-keeping of the Spanish referee and his decision to award a spot kick for a foul by full-back Bacary Sagna.

Wenger said: "I wanted to understand how we had only three minutes of injury time, and then only played one minute."

"Every referee looks to have a different computer to calculate the in time and still I do not know and really understand how it works.

"It looks like it is through the inspiration of the referee and he could not explain it. He just said it was enough."

"When we got to 1-1, there was no game any more.

"We were on top, they looked very tired, but the game was finished because of the interruptions for injuries and stoppages.

"You could feel the game was there for the taking, but we had no more opportunity to play."

The Gunners boss added: "The penalty was harsh. Sagna is convinced he [Vukojevic] pulled him with his two hands on his shirt and then went down."