Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola blasted Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz and lamented a number of decisions that cost his side dear after a 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool on Tuesday sealed a 5-1 aggregate Champions League quarter-final win for the five-time European champions.
Guardiola was forced to watch the second half from the stands after being sent off for his protestations at the break as free-spending City’s dreams of conquering the Champions League for the first time were dashed for another season.
City led 1-0 on the night at that stage after Gabriel Jesus’s second-minute opener, but the hosts felt aggrieved after Leroy Sane had a second goal wrongly disallowed for offside just before half-time.
“It’s different to go in 1-0 at half-time to 2-0,” said Guardiola, who also believed Liverpool’s opener in a 3-0 first-leg win at Anfield last week should have been ruled out for offside.
“When the teams are so equal the impact of these decisions is so big.”
Mohamed Salah booked Liverpool’s place in the last four for the first time in a decade when he coolly chipped home his 39th goal of the season 11 minutes into the second half before Roberto Firmino inflicted a third consecutive defeat on City for the first time in Guardiola’s near two-year reign.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed the maturity of his side to see out a first-half onslaught.
“The boys found a solution. We had these two or three moments already at end of the first half so it was easy for me and the boys to see the development of the game and that we are already through the whirlwind,” said Klopp.
Liverpool trail City by 17 points in the Premier League, but have now beaten Guardiola’s men in three of their four meetings this season.
“I really think they are the best team in the world at the moment but I knew we could beat them,” added Klopp.
“We should enjoy the moment. It was a while ago Liverpool was in the semis and I was in the semis and now we are there together.”