Madrid, April 10 (IANS) The president of Malaga football club has sparked a controversy by alleging racism was the reason for his side’s exit from the Champions League late Tuesday night.
Malaga had looked to have booked their place in the semi-finals of the competition for the first time in the club’s history when substitute Eliseu put them 2-1 ahead to Borussia Dortmund with less than 10 minutes to play in the Westfalen stadium, Xinhua reports.
With the Spaniards looking solid in defence and Borussia lacking fluidity in attack, the Malaga fans were celebrating their qualification until the Germany scored twice in injury time to produce a miracle fightback, or a disastrous defeat, depending on which of the two sides you support.
There was no controversy over Marco Reus’ equaliser, but Malaga would still have qualified had it not been for Felipe Santana’s winning goal, which should have been ruled out as several Borussia players appeared to be offside in the buildup to the goal, while Santana himself was offside when he scored.
It was desperately cruel on Malaga, but the error did even out the refereeing mistake in Malaga’s second goal, given that Eliseu had been marginally offside before receiving a pass from Julio Cesar Baptista.
Malaga owner Sheik Abdullah Al Thani didn’t see it quite like that and after the final whistle posted a series of ‘tweets’ on his official Twitter account, putting his side’s exit down to racism.
“Thank you very much for the team you have been champions on the pitch. I’m sorry to go out this way injustice and racism.”
“I hope to open a thorough investigation (by) UEFA regarding the Spanish club going out this way. Which does not affect the spirit of sport. This is not football, but racism and clear of all,” he wrote.
The Malaga players were heartbroken by the defeat with striker, Roque Santa Cruz commenting they were: “still trying to take in what has happened. The dressing room is very depressed.”
“It was a game that incredibly we let slip out of our hands In the end they had a lot of luck. Not only for scoring goals but because of the situations as well. The third was offside. They had a lot of luck,” he commented
Earlier this season, UEFA sanctioned Malaga with not being able to play in Europe next season as a result of the club’s unpaid debts and coach Manuel Pellegrini wondered whether this could have been a factor.
“After we went 2-1 up, there was no referee, they pushed us back with long balls, elbows and pushes and they didn’t blow any fouls or anything. There was an offside in the last goal and the referee should have sent off two of their players. We are going with a bitter feeling. It was hard to believe that a side with a UEFA sanction should be allowed to play the Champions League final and I am certain they put a ceiling on what we could do.”
“You can make a mistake in one play, but it was not just one play, it was two offsides and two sendings off,” he complained.