Valencia president Amadeo Salvo suggested Slovenian referee Damir Skomina’s nationality was to blame after Los Che were beaten 2-0 at Sevilla in Thursday’s Europa League semifinal first leg at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.
Stephane Mbia appeared to be offside as he scored for Sevilla, although there was nothing controversial about the home side’s superb second goal from Carlos Bacca.
Valencia had chances for an away goal during a spell of late pressure, coming closest when Chilean attacker Edu Vargas thudded a header off the crossbar.
Salvo told AS after the game that it was not right that Skomina -- who took charge of three matches at Euro 2012 and that year's UEFA Supercup between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid -- had been given such a high profile match as a Europa League semifinal.
“We are indignant,” the Valencia chief said. “I do not understand how UEFA can put in a referee from Slovenia for a semifinal at this level. This could penalise a semifinal of the Europa League with officials from a country like Slovenia, where football is what it is and you do not have games like this.”
The visitors were further enraged after centre-forward Paco Alcacer was booked following a nothing challenge on Sevilla goalkeeper Beto, meaning the youngster is suspended for next Thursday’s second leg at Mestalla. Salvo said Valencia would appeal that booking in the hope of having Alcacer, who scored a hat trick as his side overturned a 3-0 deficit in the quarterfinal second leg at home to Basel, available next week.
“We will appeal, it looks unlikely that UEFA will rectify it,” he said. “But they should do so, to rectify a deplorable attitude.”
A happier figure after the game was on-loan QPR midfielder Mbia, who told told UEFA.com that he was not entirely sure of the sequence of events which led to him being unmarked at the back post to flick in an Ivan Rakitic free-kick from close range.
“I don't really know what happened [with the goal],” Mbia said. “I wasn't really sure where I was, then suddenly I had the ball and I scored. I'm so happy for the whole team, because we all worked really hard.”
Mbia, this week linked with a permanent move to Everton or Liverpool in the summer transfer window, admitted that Valencia had created some chances, but said Sevilla were confident of securing a place in the final against either Juventus or Benfica.
“Valencia caused us a lot of problems,” he admitted. “They had good chances to score but we're so happy that they didn't. We're going to go there and try and do something good. But we know it'll be difficult there because Valencia played really well and we've got so much respect for them. We need to stay calm, try and do our best, it's just one game away from our dream.”