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Wenger: Referee 'Killed the Game'

  • Guardian, Thursday, February 20, 2014 2:20 PM
Predictably, Arsene Wenger blamed the referee and not his goalkeeper, saying that Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli “killed” the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg between Arsenal and Bayern Munich for sending off Wojciech Szczesnylate in the first half with the score still tied 0-0. Bayern went on to control the game in the second half, ultimately winning 2-0.

"The red card didn't change the game, it killed the game," the Arsenal coach said in his post-game press conference. "Until then it was top quality but in the second half it was boring for the neutrals. It was one-way traffic. The referee made a decision that killed the game. These rules are different in every country and in Italy you get sent off for these kind of fouls.”

Wenger also reflected on another poor performance from under-fire playmaker Mesut Ozil. "He was affected by the penalty miss," the Frenchman said. "You could see, even five or 10 minutes later, he was still shaking his head. It had a huge impact on his performance. You are always concerned about the confidence of your players because that is your petrol in the team. It is what gives them the courage and desire to play. We needed that penalty tonight. You could see Bayern were on the ropes. We had three good chances in the first 15 minutes. And I feel to make them more insecure we needed to score that penalty but he missed it."

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