August 15, 2022

PSG were adamant that Benzema fouled Donnarumma

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi reportedly had to be removed from the Santiago Bernabeu tunnel after attempting to confront the referee following PSG’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League.

Karim Benzema scored a second-half hat-trick – with his last two goals coming within seconds of each other – as the Spanish side overturned a 1-0 first leg deficit to progress to the quarterfinals, winning 3-2 on aggregate.

However, the game was not without controversy – with the French giants furious with referee Danny Makkelie’s failure to blow for a foul on goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in the build-up to Madrid’s equaliser. The away side, who had taken the lead on the night through Kylian Mbappe, were adamant that Benzema had fouled the Italian prior to scoring.

As reported by ESPN, Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Leonardo left the presidential box after the full-time whistle, shouting that the decision was “shameful” before making their way to the tunnel in search of the referee.

The report adds that while the pair were initially unable to find the officials, sources claim that once they had found the referee’s dressing room, they began to bang on the door. Security staff were required to remove the two PSG chiefs and calm the situation down.

One source told ESPN that they had “never seen club executives behave like that.”

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino also criticised the referee’s decision in his post-match news conference, insisting that he felt ‘injustice’.

“It’s a feeling of a lot of injustice, with the goal we conceded,” he said.

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“It’s a clear foul from Benzema on Donnarumma. The emotional state of the game changed and we were very exposed. It’s a tremendous blow, because we were better in the tie. We were better for 180 minutes.”

He added: “I’ve seen the images, from every angle. It isn’t a mistake from the goalkeeper. It’s a foul. Little details count, and VAR didn’t see a clear foul. It’s decisive, it influenced the mood of the two teams and the stadium.”

On the other hand, Benzema insisted that he simply pressured Donnarumma and did ‘nothing wrong’.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” he told RMC Sport. “He took too long, I pressured him and he lost the ball.”

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