Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - Page 16 News List

‘Referee has garbage bag instead of heart’, Buffon says of late penalty

AFP, MADRID

Referee Michael Oliver, second left, shows Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, second right, a red card on Wednesday in their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain.

Photo: AP

Gianluigi Buffon told English referee Michael Oliver he “has no heart” and should have been watching Juventus’ Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid in the stands “with his wife and a Sprite.”

Oliver awarded Real a penalty in the 93rd minute at the Santiago Bernabeu after Juve defender Mehdi Benatia brought down Lucas Vazquez with a clumsy challenge from behind.

Buffon was then sent off for his protests and Cristiano Ronaldo scored the resulting spot-kick to drag Real through to the semi-finals with a dramatic 4-3 aggregate win.

“This referee has no heart, he has a garbage bag instead of a heart,” Buffon told Italian channel Mediaset Premium after the second-leg tie which his team had won 3-1.

“If you do not have personality and courage, you should go to the stands to watch the match with your wife and with a Sprite,” Buffon added.

Real looked like they would cruise into the semis following last week’s 3-0 victory in Turin, Italy, but Mario Mandzukic gave Juve hope with two first-half headers before Blaise Matuidi leveled the tie after a mistake from goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Buffon’s red card could bring a bad-tempered end to a magnificent Champions League career, with the 40-year-old Italian expected to retire in the summer.

“The referee blew for a foul that only he saw,” Buffon told beIN Sports. “Above all, for great matches at [the] European level, we need big players, coaches, supporters and referees.”

“There must be some sensitivity to understanding the importance of some moments and if you do not have this sensitivity to what’s going on in the game, you’re not worthy of being on the pitch,” Buffon said. “In this case, he should be in the stands with his parents, with his friends, with fries and Coca-Cola and watch the game. You cannot do something like that.”

Benatia, who later likened the penalty award to being “raped,” claimed he made little contact with Vazquez and believes Real too often enjoy the rub of the green on decisions.

“Honestly, I’ve seen and played in matches — you can never whistle for a penalty like that in the 93rd minute,” Benatia said. “If there is contact it is with my thigh and that is part of football. There is never the intention to foul him or to push him.”

“Last year they screwed Bayern Munich on two or three goals that were offside if I’m not mistaken,” Benatia added.

“It’s always the same story that repeats itself. It’s a very big team Real, it’s not for nothing that they have won so much, I don’t think they need any extra help,” Benatia said. “Everyone knows that this match had to go into extra-time and the best team would have won.”

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