Villarreal president laments ‘scandalous’ refereeing decision during Champions League defeat to Liverpool

The Spanish side wanted a first-half penalty for a challenge by Alisson on Giovanni Lo Celso.

Villarreal president Fernando Roig has lamented referee Danny Makkelie and labelled him as ‘scandalous’ after his side were knocked out of the Champions League semi-final by Liverpool.

The Spanish side gave the Reds a huge fright on Tuesday evening - scoring twice in the first half to cancel out a first-leg lead - before the introduction of Luis Diaz helped Liverpool to turn the game around and win 3-2 on the night (5-2 on aggregate).

But Roig was furious during a key moment in the first-half. With his side 1-0 up, former Tottenham man Giovanni Lo Celso was slipped through on goal before a collision with Reds keeper Alisson floored the midfielder.

Makkelie waved away thes shouts for a penalty, claiming that the Brazilian goalkeeper got enough of the ball before making contact with Lo Celso - something that infuriated the Villarreal president.

“It was a scandalous penalty.” Roig told Spanish outlet Marca. “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.

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

“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 angry, I’m proud to get here, but the decisions has been very bad.”

While the challenge was definitely worth a second look, claims of scandal can be seen as a bit strong.

Alisson clattered into Lo Celso with the ball up for grabs, but replays have shown that the Reds keeper touched the ball during - if not slightly before - his contact with the Villarreal man.

How much a penalty at that moment would have changed the outcome remains to be seen.

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Liverpool came out after the break a different team, thanks mainly to the introduction of the electric Luis Diaz.

The Colombian scored the second of three goals in the space of 12 second-half minutes to pull Jurgen Klopp’s men into relative comfort.

And now the Reds are in their third Champions League final in five years and remain on track for an unprecedented quadruple, with their opponent in Paris confirmed on Wednesday evening.