Barcelona helped by referees in win vs. Roma – Eusebio Di Francesco
Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco complained Barcelona received help from the referee on Wednesday as the La Liga leaders “unfairly” inflicted a 4-1 defeat on the Italians in the Champions League.
However, Di Francesco also conceded that his own team made too many mistakes, with own goals either side of half-time giving Barca a two-goal lead at Camp Nou.
Gerard Pique added the third before Edin Dzeko pulled one back for the visitors with 10 minutes remaining. However, Luis Suarez restored the home side’s three-goal lead in the 87th minute to give them a commanding lead going into next week’s quarterfinal second leg.
Di Francesco, though, says things would have been different if match official Danny Makkelie had awarded his side two penalties.
The Dutch referee ruled Nelson Semedo’s challenge on Dzeko in the ninth minute was legal and determined that Samuel Umtiti’s first-half foul on Lorenzo Pellegrini was outside the box.
“It’s going to be very difficult to qualify from here but it would be less difficult if the referee hadn’t helped them, especially with the big decisions,” Di Francesco said in his postgame news conference.
“But we made mistakes and we made it easy for them, which you can’t do against Barca. Daniele [De Rossi] has made a mistake, which can happen, then [Kostas] Manolas was unfortunate with the second own goal.
“Evidently that’s our fault, but Barca are good enough without help from the officials. Semedo on Dzeko is a clear penalty and then later there’s another on Pellegrini.”
Asked if he felt the scoreline was unfair, Di Francesco added: “Yes, absolutely, given how we played. We had a lot of chances. I think it’s a result that doesn’t demonstrate what we did on the pitch.
“We have to keep dreaming, though. Why not? It’s a result that favours Barca but I want my team to put on a show in front of our fans next week.”
Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said he didn’t know if Roma deserved to be awarded two penalties because he hadn’t seen the replays, but he felt there were calls which went against his team, too.
“I saw penalties [for Barcelona] that we weren’t awarded tonight as well,” he said. “Everyone sees things their own way.”
Valverde was happy with the result, though, even if he would have preferred not to concede an away goal.
“It’s a struggle to win every game,” he added. “So it’s a good result, although I would have preferred to win 3-0 than 4-1. That said, Marc-Andre [Ter Stegen] had some tough saves to make and Roma had some clear scoring opportunities. They’re a good side, it was difficult for us to break them down and get past the first line of pressure.
“But we haven’t done anything yet. I don’t see us in the semifinal, not at all.”