Di Francesco: Referee helped Barcelona

Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco slammed the referee after his side were thrashed 4-1 by Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final.

Own-goals from Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas gave Barcelona a two-goal lead on Wednesday before Gerard Pique made it 3-0 just before the hour mark.

Edin Dzeko pulled one back for the Giallorossi in the 80th minute but Luis Suarez made it 4-1 for the Catalans to give them a commanding lead heading into the second leg in Rome.

Di Francesco admits his side made too many mistakes, but also believes the referee should have given his team two penalties in the first half. Referee Danny Makkelie saw Nelson Semedo’s challenge on Dzeko in the ninth minute as legal and determined that Samuel Umtiti’s foul on Lorenzo Pellegrini was outside the area.

“It’s going to be very difficult to qualify from here but it would be less difficult if the referee hadn’t helped them, especially with the big decisions,” Di Francesco said in his postgame news conference.

“But we made mistakes and we made it easy for them, which you can’t do against Barca. Daniele [De Rossi] has made a mistake, which can happen, then [Kostas] Manolas was unfortunate with the second own goal.

“Evidently that’s our fault, but Barca is good enough without help from the officials. Semedo on Dzeko is a clear penalty and then later there’s another on Pellegrini.”

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