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Stramaccioni: Referee 'influenced' loss

Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni has accused the officials of "influencing the outcome" during his side's controversial 4-3 defeat to Atalanta on Sunday.

• Blog: Inter's season effectively over

The Nerazzurri surrendered a 3-1 lead at the San Siro as Atalanta launched a stirring comeback, although a contentious penalty decision to the visitors and a post-match brawl marred the outcome.

Tommaso Rocchi's opener was cancelled out by Giacomo Bonaventura before a Ricardo Alvarez brace appeared to give Inter a comfortable lead.

But referee Andrea Gervasconi pointed to the spot in the 65th minute to the bemusement of both sides who were unable to see an infringement.

Germain Denis converted from the spot and finished with a hat-trick to cause an upset and Stramaccioni insists Inter were unfairly treated.

"The referee greatly influenced the outcome. He said it was for a handball by Samuel," he said. "First I thought they were errors, but it turned out to be something that only the referee saw. We haven't received a penalty yet in this second half of the season.

"I think Gervasoni, acting independently and on his own, influenced the outcome by seeing something that wasn't there. Something that never took place. We spent five minutes trying to understand what had happened. At one point on the bench we thought it was a foul by Ranocchia, but then the referee said it was a handball by Samuel.

"You cannot do this. You simply cannot. We already have our problems but... you cannot award a penalty like that. I'm young, so maybe I'll get run out at the end of the year. But it's incredible to see a penalty like that given. We don't have the strength to be stronger than these episodes. Third place? We just lost an ugly game. We're not going to start making calculations now."

Inter captain Javier Zanetti echoed Stramaccioni's frustration as his side's hopes of Champions League qualification took a significant blow.

"I've been through many negative situations like the one from this evening, but lately they always happen to us," Zanetti said. "I'm talking about the non-existent penalty that Atalanta received, which is really shameful. He told us he saw a handball from Samuel, and we told him he'd see from the replay that it was never there.

"There was a penalty on Ranocchia? The replays speak for themselves. I won't say anymore because I don't want us to risk punishment for these things as well.

"The team absolutely did not deserve a defeat. We never lost our belief in spite of everything. But the penalty episode, although I don't want to come back to this, changed the game. When we were leading 3-1 we had the game in our hands. When it went to 3-2 it gave Atalanta confidence."

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