Gasperini rues 'absolute confusion' after Atalanta's Europa League exit

By Sports Desk April 14, 2022

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini blasted the "absolute confusion" of the refereeing performance in his side's Europa League quarter-final exit to RB Leipzig on Thursday.

La Dea had high hopes following their draw in the first leg, but a Christopher Nkunku brace handed Leipzig a 2-0 win instead, with the German side going through 3-1 on aggregate.

With Atlanta down 1-0 on Thursday, however, Antonio Mateu Lahoz waved away what appeared to be a handball from Leipzig's Dani Olmo and also waved away the consequent call for a VAR review.

Nkunku then punished Atalanta for a second time in transition, while Gasperini was left to bemoan the lack of consistency in refereeing interpretation and decision-making with the tie in the balance.

"The strange thing is that he [Mateu Lahoz] gave a punishment that for me was a less obvious foul than it was a penalty. There is absolute confusion on handballs," he said. "The referee himself, in 30 seconds, evaluates the first instance more serious than the second which is much clearer.

"Well, it's not like you can cancel it [from context]. We had a good match, we conceded something, as is normal in these matches. There are goal situations on both sides in Europe. Everyone has an important attacking quality. It wasn't the defence that penalised us."

According to the 64-year-old, the penalty reinforced Atalanta's need to chase the result, which played into the fast, dynamic and ultimately reactive RB Leipzig's hands.

"It is always like this," he said. "They have pace and speed, they play very tightly and then go on the counter-attack.

"Sometimes they do them very well, we attacked for a very long time and unfortunately in recent weeks we have had difficulty in finding the final pass, the decisive shot. Even if for long stretches it was an excellent match for Atalanta."

Champions League qualification is likely unattainable now for La Dea, who sit 12 points off fourth-placed Juventus in Serie A, but are also four points behind Lazio in the Conference League playoff spot. They face Hellas Verona on Monday.

Related items

  • Football rumours: Man Utd and PSG leading summer pursuit of Victor Osimhen Football rumours: Man Utd and PSG leading summer pursuit of Victor Osimhen
    What the papers say

    Manchester United and Paris St Germain have emerged as the frontrunners to land the signature of Victor Osimhen in the summer. According to The Independent, Chelsea and Arsenal are also interested in the Napoli forward.

    The Telegraph reports Newcastle are edging closer to inking a new deal with midfielder Joelinton. The 27-year-old has little over a year left on his current deal, but the two parties are believed to be on similar terms with negotiations proving productive thus far.

    Tottenham have reportedly taken an interest in Sporting Lisbon midfielder Morten Hjulmand. The Sun, citing Portuguese paper Record, says Spurs sent scouts to watch the Denmark international in action as Sporting beat rivals Benfica 2-1 last Thursday, with a view to a potential summer move for the 24-year-old.

    And the i says Newcastle intend to send 19-year-old winger Yankuba Minteh out on loan for a second successive season. Minteh has been at Dutch side Feyenoord this season.

    Social media round-upPlayers to watch

    Alphonso Davies: Real Madrid are willing to offer as much as £43m for the Bayern Munich defender, according to Mundo Deportivo.

    Archie Brown: HITC reports Chelsea, Leeds and West Ham are all monitoring the English defender, currently playing for Belgian side Gent.

  • On this day in 2019: England beat Japan to win SheBelieves Cup for first time On this day in 2019: England beat Japan to win SheBelieves Cup for first time

    England won the SheBelieves Cup for the first time with a 3-0 win over Japan on this day in 2019.

    A 2-1 victory against Brazil and a 2-2 draw against hosts the United States saw the Lionesses set up a winner-takes-all final-match showdown with Japan at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

    Lucy Staniforth, Karen Carney and Beth Mead were all on the scoresheet in the first half as England were crowned champions of the invitational round-robin tournament.

    Staniforth put the Lionesses ahead in the 12th minute, collecting a flicked pass from Jodie Taylor before finishing low in the bottom-right corner of the net.

    Taylor recorded her second assist of the game shortly afterwards, hooking the ball to Carney in the six-yard box for the winger to nod home to make it 2-0, before Mead scored on the half-hour mark following a great pass from Keira Walsh.

    Victory came as a boost ahead of the Women’s World Cup later that year in France, where the Lionesses would reach the semi-finals, and England manager Phil Neville hailed his side’s efforts in the SheBelieves Cup as “sensational”.

    He said: “It was a sensational performance. I wasn’t that bothered before the tournament whether we won or lost, I just wanted to see an improvement and we go home knowing we are definitely in the right direction.

    “We just keep listening to USA, Japan and Brazil talk about how good we are. But we remain humble, have fun and enjoy moments like this.

    “You don’t get many chances to get your hands on a trophy. It is my first as a manager so I am just going to enjoy it.”

  • Girona lose further ground in LaLiga title race with narrow defeat at Mallorca Girona lose further ground in LaLiga title race with narrow defeat at Mallorca

    Girona lost further ground in the LaLiga title race as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Mallorca.

    Girona were looking to close the gap on league leaders Real Madrid – who drew 2-2 with Valencia on Saturday – but missed their chance to do so when Jose Copete smashed the home side in front just after the half-hour mark.

    Fewer chances fell in the second period but the visitors were kept at bay by a Mallorca side who threw bodies on the line for a result – chances for Portu and Savio went begging as the hosts held on to climb further away from the drop zone.

    The first chance of the match fell to Girona when Miguel Gutierrez’s cross found the head of Ivan Martinez inside the area but his header went straight to home goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic.

    Mallorca’s first meaningful attack came when Giovanni Gonzalez picked the ball up outside the area and fired from range but his shot kept rising above the crossbar.

    Mallorca were knocking on the door for an opener and got their reward on the half-hour mark after a corner fell to Copete inside the box and he slammed the ball into the roof of the net for his first goal of the season.

    Girona were looking to respond instantly and had a chance three minutes later – Savio looked to equalise in spectacular style but saw his effort go high and wide from outside the box.

    Mallorca went into the break with a narrow one-goal lead and almost had a second four minutes after the interval but Antonio Raillo’s header from a Dani Rodriguez corner floated over the crossbar.

    Chances were few and far between in the second period and while Girona shared most of the possession, their opponents looked to catch a second on the counter attack, this time Abdon Prats’ drilled effort whistled just wide of the far post.

    Girona were beginning to look a lot more threatening and had a couple of openings when Portu’s goal-bound effort deflected over the crossbar before Savio saw one blocked behind in similar fashion, a couple of minutes later.

    The away side continued to probe in the final minutes as Yan Couto opened up a chance inside the box and fired towards goal but Rajkovic had to be alert to tip the ball over the woodwork to condemn Girona to a third defeat in four.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.