MANCHESTER: Michel Platini’s much-vaunted ‘goal-line assistants’ scheme came under renewed fire in the wake of Malaga’s dramatic stoppage-time defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Television replays showed plainly that Felipe Santana had been offside in the middle of the goalmouth as he jabbed home the goal which turned both the match and the tie on its head.
However the offside was not picked up by Scottish referee Craig Thomson, his linesman or the additional assistant referee. Hence Malaga, who had led 1-0 then 2-1 in Dortmund, lost 3-2 on the night and on aggregate.
Malaga’s failure was doubly painful for the Spanish club because they have been banned already from European competition next season by UEFA for contravening financial fair play regulations following complaints of overdue debts.
That decision had already angered the club’s controversial Qatari owner Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani. Elimination on a match official’s error after their first-ever Champions League campaign compounded his fury.
“We were targeted from the beginning of the season by corrupt UEFA and based on racism,” said Al Thani in a tweet.
Al Thani’s complaint was echoed by veteran winger Joaquin Sanchez, whose 25th-minute strike from the edge of the area had put Malaga ahead.
He told Spanish radio station Cadena SER: “We suspect [UEFA president] Michel Platini and all of them there. Because we are Malaga and not Real Madrid, it’s easier to do this with us.”
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, questioned in Manchester about possible disciplinary action over Al Thani’s outburst, eschewed a media invitation to rush to judgment, saying only: “Just after a defeat emotions can be very hot.”
Platini has promoted the goal-line assistants as a preference to goal-line technology although the two systems are targeted at different challenges.
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