One of the central figures in tonight's Champions League quarter final between Liverpool and Manchester City was referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz. The Spaniard seemed to want the make the game about himself, as several curious decisions were awarded during the course of the game. The 41-year-old brandished 5 yellow cards during in the first half alone, with the cards brandished to Virgil Van Djik and Bernardo Silva particularly perplexing.
The most astonishing incident of the night was Lahoz's decision to chalk off Leroy Sane's first half strike for offside, despite the fact that it was James Milner and not Bernardo Silva who played the ball back to the Liverpool goal. Such was Pep Guardiola's frustration with the referee that the City manager was sent to the stands after taking umbrage with the Lahoz's officiating:
HT: Man City 1-0 Liverpool (Agg: 1-3). How are the nerves #LFC fans? HT analysis from Ferdinand, Gerrard & Lampard next on BT Sport 2! #MCILIV pic.twitter.com/5IRijlEIrg
— eir Sport (@eirSport) April 10, 2018
Guardiola was not alone in his criticism of the officiating with many viewers remarking that Lahoz tried to make the game about himself:
Exceptionally poor and disappointing refereeing to disallow Sane goal. Then results in Guardiola sent off. Referee ruining the game. How can these mistakes happen is QF of Champions League?? #MCILIV
— Edward F (@PESmoments) April 10, 2018
Totally understand Peps anger.
No reason for that goal to be offside.
Football is a mess sometimes.#UCL #MCILIV #referees
— Jack L (@JackLister1997) April 10, 2018
you know it’s a good one when both sides are simultaneously livid with the referee #MCILIV
— Ben Bennett (@FauxBen) April 10, 2018
The referee #MCILIV pic.twitter.com/xrw7ChzETt
— Neil Morey (@NeilMorey4) April 10, 2018
Referee doing his utmost to ruin a potentially great game. Nobody gives a shiny shite about you, mate. #MCILIV
— Duke Silver (@Carl0sAlbert0) April 10, 2018
Hahahahaha this #MCILIV referee, I'm cracking up. He is legit out here like THIS IS MY GAME!!!!! EYES ON ME EYES ON ME. pic.twitter.com/eYUjpLZWBt
— ?Karen Valenzuela #TIMESUP? (@VictoriaNoir89) April 10, 2018
This referee has no control of this game. Yellow cards flying left, right and centre, followed by very questionable decisions. Still, wouldn't be an all English CL QF without a bit of drama! #ChampionsLeague #bbcfootball #MCILIV
— Henry DiStasio (@Henry_DiStasio) April 10, 2018
In the end Liverpool went through after strikes from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino put the tie beyond doubt, but City fans will argue that the tie could've gone a lot differently had Leroy Sane's first half effort been awarded.