Juve coach Conte blames ref for exit
SEMI-FINAL, 2ND LEG
- Benfica win 2-1 on aggregate
Juventus coach Antonio Conte blasted referee Mark Clattenburg after his side were knocked out of the Europa League by Benfica yesterday morning (Singapore time), saying the Englishman was not good enough to officiate such an important match.
Ten-man Benfica resisted a Juventus onslaught in a scoreless draw in Turin to qualify for their second successive Europa League final after a 2-1 aggregate win.
With a home final on the horizon, Juventus had made winning the Europa League a priority after crashing out of the Champions League earlier this season.
But, despite a dominant display at the Juventus Stadium, where midfielder Enzo Perez saw red for the visitors with 20 minutes remaining, Juve ultimately failed to find the goal that would have secured their place in the May 14 final.
After a dramatic finish which saw substitutes Mirko Vucinic and Lazar Markovic earn red cards following a touchline scuffle and Benfica's players engage in questionable tactics apparently designed to waste time, Conte hit out at both referee Clattenburg and Benfica coach Jorge Jesus.
Conte was convinced that his side should have been awarded a penalty when Fernando Llorente's 65th-minute header appeared to strike defender Luisao on the hand.
One goal would have put his side through to the final on away goals.
"Today, there should have been a penalty, after the penalty not given for a foul on (Giorgio) Chiellini on the first leg," said Conte.
Conte also claimed that Clattenburg had failed to control what he saw as Benfica's spoiling tactics.
"The referee allowed them to obstruct the play the whole game.
"Before the game, he told us that he wouldn't stop play every time a player hit the floor, but that's what happened.
"We feel like we're not being taken seriously, and Uefa should show us more respect by sending a referee of the required standard."
"I didn't appreciate either the attitude of our opponents," added Conte.
"They had two shots on goal over the two legs and now they're into the final. In the end, the least deserving team have gone to the final.
"We gave it everything we could but it wasn't enough. Now we have to turn our attention to winning the title, which we can do on Monday against Atalanta."
Benfica coach Jesus insisted that his side were better than Juventus over the two legs and deserved to reach the final.
"Benfica earned the final as we played better than Juve in both legs. Juve are a good team, but defensively Benfica played very well," he said.
"We had the advantage from the first leg and controlled all their movements in the second leg. We deserved to reach the final because we were better than Juve."
Benfica, beaten 2-1 by Chelsea in last year's final, will now meet Sevilla in Turin after a 94th-minute Stephane Mbia header put the Spanish side through on away goals. Their semi-final against Valencia ended 3-3 on aggregate.
Sevilla, after winning the first leg 2-0 at home, were 3-0 behind by the 70th minute.
Valencia were just over a minute away from going through to the final when Federico Fazio flicked on a long-throw and Cameroon midfielder Mbia rose to crash a header into the net and silence the home fans. - Wire Services.
“We feel like we’re not being taken seriously, and Uefa should show us more respect by sending a referee of the required standard.”
— Juventus coach Antonio Conte slamming referee Mark Clattenburg
(Sofiane Feghouli 14, Beto 26-og, Jeremy Mathieu 70)
(Stephane Mbia 90+4)
- 3-3 on aggregate, Sevilla win on away goals.