Pellegrini: Referees didn't want Malaga in semis

Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini has accused the match officials in their Champions League clash with Dortmund of conspiring to knock his side out of the competition.

Malaga players argue with referee Craig Thomson


Dortmund narrowly edged out Malaga 3-2 in controversial circumstances on Tuesday, with Felipe Santana scoring from what appeared to be an offside position deep into stoppage-time to send the German outfit through to the semi-finals.

Joaquin had given Malaga the lead in the 25th minute, but Robert Lewandowski equalised for Dortmund five minutes before the break. Pellegrini's men thought they secured passage into the semi-finals of the competition when Eliseu scored with just eight minutes of normal time remaining, but Marco Reus equalised in the first minute of stoppage time to give Dortmund a glimmer of hope, before Santana completed Dortmund's comeback two minutes later.

Pellegrini launched a stinging attack on the match officials after the game, claiming his side's progress into the semi-finals was prevented by several questionable refereeing decisions after they had gone 2-1 ahead.

"They did not want us in the semi-finals," Pellegrini was quoted as saying by ESPN. 

"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."

Pellegrini also admitted defeat at this stage of the competition in such circumstances was hard to swallow, but he nonetheless urged his side to regroup quickly in order to finish their domestic season strongly.

"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.

"They say that Dortmund are the best footballing team in Europe yet they end up pumping long balls [into our penalty box]. Anyway, we have to congratulate our opponents.

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

Malaga will take on Osasuna in their next La Liga fixture.

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