Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini expressed his disgust after his team played more than 70 minutes of Wednesday’s 1-0 Champions League home loss to Real Madrid with 10 men.
La Dea had Remo Freuler sent off after what was adjudged a contrast worthy of a straight red with eventual match-winner, Ferland Mendy, although replays suggest that the decision was more than questionable.
German referee, Tobias Stieler, reached straight for the red card and sent off the Swiss midfielder, leaving Gasperini absolutely perplexed and angry.
“The game was absolutely ruined,” Gasperini said in his post-match press conference. “It’s such a shame, mainly because the match was ruined by an absurd and inexplicable sending off”
However, the Atalanta coach went on to state how proud his team had made him with their battling performance.
“I’m sorry that we couldn’t play the game the way we were supposed to,” Gasperini said. “The lads were fantastic, apart from the goal at the end.”
“We had to play a very defensive game, obviously, but maybe it would have been different with 11 men, we would have created much more.
“It wasn’t the game we had looked forward to for so long but now we’ll look ahead to Madrid where we hope it’ll be a different type of game”.
He then went on to add his controversial views on the potential appointment of ex-professional footballers as referees.
“What happened was unbelievable,” he said. “They want to remove every form of contact from the game and this is the death of football.
“We simply can’t have referees who have never played the game and can’t tell the difference between a coming together and a foul. I’m not saying anything else or UEFA will ban me for two months.”
The return leg will be played on March 16 in the Spanish capital.