AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic will surely be fined and suspended for his comments after today’s Champions League quarter-final saying that he was left feeling “disgusted” after Barcelona scored from two first-half penalties.
Ibrahimovic echoed comments last season by former Inter Milan and current Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho in feeling that Barcelona’s European success has been helped by match officials following a disputed penalty decision.
“I’m just disgusted,” Ibra said. “They are the best team in the world but at 1-1 and, playing with intelligence, you can do something. (But) I understand better why Mourinho gets upset every time he plays here—in my opinion it was not fair.”
AC Milan players were furious about the decision in the 40th minute of Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers to book Alessandro Nesta for yanking down Sergio Busquets inside the area as the pair tussled during a corner kick. It was the kind of shirt pulling that often goes unpunished in top games, and started well before the corner had been taken.
“The ball wasn’t in play and he called it. It was weird, odd, it ruined the game,” Ibrahimovic said. “I still don’t understand what he whistled. If he calls those he should call the others. Without him the game would have been 50-50.”
This is just the latest referring decision to help Barca in the Champions League. Barcelona eliminated Arsenal last season in the quarterfinals after Robin van Persie was given a second booking when he continued playing after the whistle early in the second half, with the game tied 1-1.
In the semifinals, Madrid was left with 10 men for most of the second half of its 2-0 semifinal first-leg loss when Pepe was red carded, which led to Mourinho’s criticism.
Back in 2010 in the semi-final between Barca and Inter Milan, Inter had Motta controversially sent off after some outrageous play-acting by Sergio Busquets. That night Jose Mourinho’s side were able to overcome the referring and win the tie.
That is not something that AC Milan could do tonight.