Thomas Tuchel claims ‘betrayal’ after controversial moment in semi-final

Thomas Tuchel claims ‘betrayal’ after controversial moment in semi-final

Thomas Tuchel claimed he received an apology from the assistant referee who raised his flag early and potentially denied Bayern Munich a late equaliser in their Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid.

Hosts Madrid pulled off a stunning late comeback at the Bernabeu as substitute Joselu came off the bench to turn the tie around in the final minutes, after Bayern had led thanks to a Alphonso Davies strike.

But Bayern had the ball in the net again in the dying seconds of injury time, as Matthijs de Ligt thrashed a shot in from just inside the Real Madrid box following a long ball into the penalty area.

The goal was quickly ruled out as the assistant referee’s flag was raised and the whistle went a couple of seconds before De Ligt shot. Noussair Mazraoui and De Ligt were given offside, but replays showed it was close.

Tuchel was furious that the offside flag had not been delayed in order to let the attacking phase play out, as is the protocol in the age of VAR. As the flag went up, however, VAR was unable to intervene and award the goal, as play had already stopped.

“There was a disastrous decision from the linesman and the referee [Poland’s Szymon Marciniak],” Tuchel told TNT Sports. “ It feels like a betrayal in the end. There was a huge fight, we left everything on the pitch and we were almost there. Now we say congratulations to Real Madrid.

“The linesman says sorry but that does not help. To raise the flag in a moment like this… The referee sees we get the second ball and we get the shot – it’s a very, very bad decision. It’s against the rules. It’s a disaster. It’s hard to swallow but that’s the way it is.”

The Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin appeared to stop before De Ligt shot, having already heard the offside flag.

Tuchel also defended taking off Harry Kane in the 85th minute and with Bayern only a goal up by explaining that the England captain had “back problems” and could not continue.

Kane is Bayern’s leading goalscorer this season with 44 goals from 45 goals in his debut season at the German club, including eight in the Champions League, but was replaced by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who has scored three goals in all competitions this campaign.

Extra time was still a possibility, Joselu then scored again in the 92nd minute to send Madrid through to the final. Joselu’s equaliser came after a costly spill from Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who had been the player of the match until that point.

Tuchel told TNT Sports that he had no choice but to take off his attackers and said Bayern saw the “end of the tunnel” before Madrid’s late comeback.

“You are never fully sure because it’s Real Madrid in Madrid. We could have been more clinical or calm in the opponent’s half. We started with a front four and all four has to go out with injury or cramp.

“Yeah because if you are through in the 88th minute you see the end of the tunnel. Was it our very best match? No. But we didn’t need to be perfect, we just needed to be good enough in this moment.”