Villarreal chief bemoans "scandalous" decision that helped Liverpool comeback

Villarreal president Fernando Roig has blasted the “scandalous” decision not to award his side a penalty in their Champions Leaguesemi-final defeatby Liverpool.

Liverpool progressed to the final 5-2 on aggregate but only after being given a scare by the Spanish side. Jurgen Klopp ’s side travelled to Spain with a two-lead but saw that wiped out by close-range goals from Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin before half-time.

They roared back into it after the break as Fabinho smashed a shot through Geronimo Rulli’s legs to restore their lead 3-2 on aggregate. Luis Diaz then headed in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross before Sadio Mane took advantage of some terrible goalkeeping from Rulli to make the game safe with Liverpool’s third goal.

Liverpool’s win was not without controversy, however, with Alisson’s challenge on Giovani Lo Celso going unpunished. The Brazilian flew out of his goal and dived for the ball at Lo Celso’s feet but referee Danny Makkelie deemed that he had won the ball fairly – a decision that left Roig furious.

"It was a scandalous penalty,” he said, as reported byMarca. “The referee doesn't have the level to officiate this match. It seems to me a scandalous penalty for Lo Celso, I don't see any possible interpretation. The arbitration has been mysterious, it has always been in his favour.

“It doesn't serve as an excuse, because there they were superior and could win more, but this arbitration does not have level for a time like this. There have been a lot of small actions that have gone in their favour."

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Makkelie is an experienced official who has taken charge of high-profile matches on the pitch, as well as in the VAR room. He did not consult the pitchside monitor following the challenge by Alisson – and that wasn’t the only questionable decision in Roig’s eyes.

He added: "There were three fouls on the edge of the box in the first half, the set piece is very important and we couldn't have it . Our forces were failing and it would have been good for us. I'm not hot, it's a pride to get here, but the arbitration has been very evil.”

Villarreal have exited the competition after enjoying a brilliant Champions League campaign. Last year’s Europa League winners came through a group that included Manchester United before getting past Juventus and Bayern Munich in the knockout stages.

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