Tuesday 19 February 2019

'Ref Oliver lost the plot' - says Buffon

Red mist: Buffon is sent off by referee Oliver
Red mist: Buffon is sent off by referee Oliver

Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon claims referee Michael Oliver "lost the plot" as Real Madrid reached the Champions League semi-finals with a controversial late penalty.

The Serie A giants had stormed back from a 3-0 first-leg deficit to level the scores at 3-3 on aggregate at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

English referee Oliver then awarded a contentious spot-kick in added time after ruling Mehdi Benatia had bundled Lucas Vazquez over in the box.

Juve players furiously protested the decision, with goalkeeper Buffon receiving a red card, and the 40-year-old pulled no punches in his assessment of the official. He said: "The referee lost the plot, I accept that.

"I won't accept that a referee is in charge of a game like this with two such high-profile teams and doesn't have the character, courage or ability to make calm decisions.

"He was clearly unprepared. Giving a penalty like that after a memorable match, sending off someone who has never been red-carded for dissent in his life in my final game, is simply not acceptable. If you do that then you are an animal, you have rubbish in place of a heart. We did something epic this evening and the performance was heroic."

Benatia was also irritated by the decision but did praise the way in which Juventus fought back in Spain. "It was an absurd incident," the Morocco defender said. "We're really disappointed.

"It's unbelievable that our captain isn't allowed to speak to the referee - the red card was very harsh."

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