x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Farias: Referee was biased

The defeated Pohang Steelers coach accuses Italian referee Roberto Rosetti of having an agenda against them.

The referee Roberto Rosetti sends off Jae-Won Hwang, the first of three red cards.
The referee Roberto Rosetti sends off Jae-Won Hwang, the first of three red cards.

ABU DHABI // The Pohang Steelers coach Sergio Farias last night accused Italian referee Roberto Rosetti of having an agenda after watching his side lose 2-1 to Estudiantes in the Club World Cup semi-final. The Argentine midfielder Leandro Benitez scored twice for Los Pincharratas - the first of which caused controversy amid calls of offside - before Rosetti showed Jae-Won Hwang a second yellow for blocking the path of Maxi Nunez.

Denilson pulled one back for the Asian champions against the run of play, but Jae-Sung Kim was shown a second yellow a minute later to effectively end the contest. The goalkeeper Hwa-Yong Shin was the given a straight red with 13 minutes remaining, after colliding with Nunez. "When we agree to take part in a competition, it is very important that the credibility of the tournament is not at any moment put in doubt," said Farias. "[Last night] we could clearly see the referee wanted to put Estudiantes into the final with Barcelona. This is a shame.

"I feel sorry for the people who came to the stadium to see a good game because they were refused that because of the bad decisions by the referee. The criteria used by him was different for the two teams. Estudiantes would commit a foul and wouldn't receive a yellow and many times they should have. This is not a conspiracy against Pohang Steelers, it is about the failure of the referee." The Brazilian said he was "satisfied but sad" by his team's performance, insisting Pohang could have progressed had it not been for the questionable officiating.

"My team played well and we could have surprised everyone and won this match, but football produces these situations that are bitter and that is the case here." gmeenaghan@thenational.ae