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‘An absolute joke’: Roma furious over referee’s decisions

International‘An absolute joke’: Roma furious over referee’s decisions

Both Italian clubs were eliminated from the Champions League following questionable decisions by the referee. And both are demanding the video assistant referee (VAR) be installed immediately in the top club competition.Roma

The VAR has already been introduced in Serie A this season and will also be used at the World Cup in Russia for the first time.

Roma was eliminated from the semifinals 7-6 on aggregate despite beating Liverpool 4-2 on Wednesday.

“There were two clear penalties not given and a red card,” Roma sporting director Monchi said.

“The time has come for Italian football to raise its voice. Well done to Liverpool, of course. But these things need to be reviewed. I do not understand why VAR is not used in the most important club competition there is.”

Roma protested to no avail for a handball on Dejan Lovren in the first half, a potential penalty committed on Edin Dzeko after the break, then a clear handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold shortly after the hour mark.

“You just can’t let stuff like this go,” Roma president Jim Pallotta said of the Alexander-Arnold handball. “If we don’t get VAR in the Champions League, stuff like this is just an absolute joke.”

Less than a month ago, Juventus was fuming over the penalty that resulted in its elimination from the quarterfinals.

English referee Michael Oliver called the penalty in the third and final minute of stoppage time, leading to Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal that meant Real Madrid advanced 4-3 on aggregate.

“We’ve got the technology to avoid these mistakes,” Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said at the time. “UEFA isn’t against the VAR, it just has a technical problem that needs to be resolved. If the problem is instructing the referees from all of the federations then let’s take some of them aside and set up a quick course.”

UEFA’s hesitation is due to the fact the Champions League involves so many countries, many of which _ like in the English Premier League _ don’t use the VAR domestically.

Still, a bigger problem for Roma was conceding two goals in the first half of both legs against Liverpool.

“We gifted them two goals thanks in part to our naivety,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said, referring to defensive lapses. “But after that we had them on the ropes. The boys did something amazing. It was almost the perfect game _ which we didn’t manage at Anfield.

“But the mentality we need for this competition has improved.”

Thursday’s Gazzetta dello Sport headline read, “Roma da applause” (Roma should be applauded) while Corriere dello Sport wrote, “Un’altra ingiustizia!” (Another injustice!)

It was the first time Roma reached the semifinals since losing the 1984 final to Liverpool in its stadium. And it came in the season after long-time Roma captain Francesco Totti retired.

“I congratulate my teammates. I am so proud of them all. To be captain of this group of great players is an incredible privilege,” Roma captain Daniele De Rossi said. “But now to make this run even more memorable we have to make sure we qualify for the competition again next year.”

With three matches remaining in Serie A, Roma sits third, level on points with fourth-place Lazio and four ahead of fifth-place Inter Milan. The top four finishers qualify for the Champions League.

“This has got to be something we continue, year on year,” defender Federico Fazio said. “We need to learn from our mistakes. We’ve got to think positively. We need to lift our heads and carry on.”

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