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Pellegrini hits out at Swedish referee in bizarre outburst

Manuel Pellegrini

The Chilean was highly critical of official Jonas Eriksson for his decision-making during Manchester City's 2-0 defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has launched a remarkable tirade against referee Jonas Eriksson for the Swede's role in his side's 2-0 loss at home to Barcelona in a hotly-contested Champions League affair.

Martin Demichelis was sent off for hauling down Lionel Messi early on in the second period which helped to settle the clash but, while the dismissal was not disputed, the decision to award a penalty was controversial when television replays suggested the contact was made outside the area.

Pellegrini was also adamant Jesus Navas had been fouled in the build-up to the goal and felt Eriksson had altered the course of the high-profile match-up.

"The referee decided the game," Pellegrini told reporters. "He decided the game because before the penalty, it was a foul on Navas but from the beginning I could see the ref was not impartial to both teams.

"So he decided the game with the foul he didn't whistle against and after the penalty of [Martin] Demichelis - it was not a penalty, it was outside the box."

Demichelis' sending off would change the outcome of the game as Messi netted the penalty and Dani Alves notched a late second to seal a 2-0 win for Barca and leave City with an uphill task ahead of the second leg in the Nou Camp.

And, despite Eriksson's wealth of elite tournament experience, Pellegrini questioned whether the Swede had the competence to officiate the last-16 tie.

"He did not have any control of the game," Pellegrini said.

"I think it was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in (charge) of such an important match ... I think maybe that kind of game needs a referee with more experience."

images: © geetarchurchy, © Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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