Malaga have made a formal complaint to Uefa about Craig Thomson and his refereeing team in the aftermath of their controversial Champions League exit to Borussia Dortmund.
Felipe Santana’s 93rd-minute winner on Tuesday night took the hosts into the semi-finals with a 3-2 aggregate victory but the Spaniards were left furious with the decision to let the goal stand after video replays conclusively proved it should have been disallowed for offside.
Malaga owner Al Thani was so incensed he accused Uefa of racism.
Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan has defended the performance of Thomson, perceived to be the country’s finest official, insisting that it was the referee’s supporting cast that let him down. “I thought his handling of the game was very, very good,” said Regan. “Unfortunately a number of decisions from the people working alongside him perhaps let him down. But unfortunately these things happen in football.
“Thomson has had a fantastic season and that was why he was selected to referee a Champions League match at the highest level. I think he has done everything to justify inclusion in both Uefa and Fifa competitions and the issues are not about Craig Thomson, it is about the decisions made by a number of supporting officials.”
Regarding the winning goal, the blame would appear to lie beyond Thomson’s influence on a football pitch. The initial ball into the box saw four Dortmund players standing in an offside position, one of which was substitute Julien Schiber. His knockdown found Marco Reus who flashed the ball across goal. A scrambled ensued and Schiber tried to force the ball home. The German could only divert the ball to the right where Santana – in the second offside position missed by the far side linesman – tapped home.
However, Malaga owner Al Thani claimed the club had been victims of racism by the football authorities. “Yes, we were targeted from the beginning of the season by the corrupt Uefa and based on racism,” he wrote on social networking site Twitter.
Malaga’s director general, Vicente Casado, distanced the club’s stance from the racism claims and directed his ire at the mistakes made by the match officials. “The club are going to present an official complaint to Uefa about the refereeing,” he said. “Our complaint is not going to be against Uefa, it is going to be against the level of refereeing that we expect, which was not at the right level. It is not at the level that the quarter-finals, the players, the fans – both Malaga and Dortmund – deserve.”
It is an opinion backed by manager Manuel Pellegrini. He saw his chances of taking a second provincial Spanish club to the semi-finals of the Champions League – he’d previously done it with Villarreal – evaporate with the contentious goal. In response he was scathing of Thomson’s performance in the closing exchanges.
“There was no refereeing in the last seven minutes,” said Pellegrini. “Our players were being elbowed and pushed all over the place. Two of their players should have been given a red card and there was a double offside in their third goal. It is extremely difficult to regain possession under these conditions. We’re all extremely bitter at the outcome.”
Pellegrini made no mention of the goal that put Malaga into a 2-1 lead, with Dortmund requiring two goals to advance with less than ten minutes to play. Video replays confirmed the strike should not have stood after scorer Eliseu strayed in front of the play and into an offside position before converting Baptista’s scuffed shot across goal.
Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp said: “Over the two games we are the deserved winner so now everything is OK.”