Guardiola slams referee Mateu Lahoz: He's a special guy who likes to be different

Having been sent off as Manchester City were beaten in the Champions League by Liverpool, Pep Guardiola had choice words for the officials.

Pep Guardiola (L) confronts referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz   -  Getty Images

Pep Guardiola accused referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz of being "a special guy" who "likes to be different" following Manchester City's Champions League exit to Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's side overturned Gabriel Jesus' opener thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino to seal a 2-1 second-leg win at the Etihad Stadium and a 5-1 aggregate triumph in the quarter-final tie.

City were dominant in the first half and thought they had scored a second goal before the break through Leroy Sane, only for the effort to be disallowed for offside, despite Liverpool's James Milner having touched the ball into the German's path.

A furious Guardiola confronted Mateu Lahoz at half-time and was sent to the stands for his protests, from where he watched his side offer meek resistance against the improved visitors.

The City boss expressed his concerns about the Spanish referee's appointment before the match after criticising him for a failure to award his side a penalty in last season's last-16 tie with Monaco, and he was angered by the officiating in Tuesday's defeat, especially as it came three days on from a 3-2 derby loss to Manchester United in which Ashley Young escaped punishment for what looked an obvious foul on Sergio Aguero in the box.

He told BT Sport: "It's the same from the last game, against United. Seventy-eight minutes, the most incredible penalty I ever saw in my life, and Martin Atkinson didn't want to whistle.

"Both teams are so, so good, these kind of decisions make the difference. Congratulations to Liverpool but, in the right moment, we missed the right decisions."

Asked why he was sent off after confronting the referee, Guardiola replied: "I said it [Sane's effort] was a goal. I didn't insult him, I was polite, I was correct. But Mateu Lahoz is a special guy, he likes to be different, he likes to be special.

"I know what happened in Monaco last season, at 1-1, with an incredible penalty from Sergio Aguero. He's special. When everybody sees things, he likes to decide the opposite. I didn't say any wrong word."

He added at a news conference: "It's different to go in 1-0 at half-time to 2-0. It's different when the first goal in Anfield from Salah is offside. In these kinds of competitions, the impact is so big.

"At Anfield, Gabriel Jesus' strike was a goal. It's a penalty from [Andrew] Robertson on Sterling.

"I would say congratulations to Liverpool. Hopefully they can defend English football in the semi-finals. They are an outstanding team with an outstanding manager.

"We made an amazing 45 minutes. But again, it is like last season against Monaco, the same referee didn’t give Aguero a penalty.

"I say congratulations to the players in this competition because they have been so good. Now we have a mini-Premier League and we have to close it."

Guardiola added: "I know [the referee] from Spain. We spoke about that. We know him. But please, Liverpool deserved to go through."

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