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Napoli president De Laurentiis: Dnipro had six referees on their side

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis questioned the integrity of the officials after his side's 1-1 draw at home to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk as he staged his own news conference.

Dnipro's equaliser in the first leg of the teams' Europa League semifinal should have been ruled out for offside, and De Laurentiis -- who also hit out at referees in Serie A earlier this season -- said he felt his team had been treated unfairly.

"We could tell after 20, 25 minutes that something was not right," he said. "It seemed like a puppet theatre. I can't blame my team for anything.

"We were superior, but Dnipro had six referees on their side. What am I supposed to think? That the match was fixed? That the cup has already been assigned to Sevilla [who beat Fiorentina 3-0 in the other semifinal]? If they want to just tell us then we will step aside."

De Laurentiis, who has previously spoken of a desire to develop a new European competition, also hit out at UEFA president Michel Platini.

"We want to compete in a place where there is competence," he said. "The referees and organisers of the competition need to have the right competence. If they want just to govern, then they're welcome, but do it with the wisdom of a monarch.

"Why does [Platini] want to have all of the Napoli fans on his back? There are millions of them in Italy and many more abroad. I don't know what Platini could be thinking. When he goes to bed, he will have to say a prayer. What kind of credibility can he have? Goodbye, Platini. Sweet dreams."

Napoli must secure a positive result in the Ukraine if they are to reach the Europa League final.

Napoli are currently fourth in Serie A, four points behind Lazio with four games to play, and Europa League success appears to be their greatest hope of qualifying for the Champions League next season.

Coach Rafael Benitez also expressed his frustration at the decision but remains hopeful his side can still win the second leg and reach the final.

"It was a real blunder and everybody could see that, and it changed the game, but we've got to hold on to our good performance in the second half, when we created a lot," Benitez said.

"We can't complain too much, we've just got to think of Kiev. We'll give it a go in the return leg."

Napoli attacker Marek Hamsik echoed Benitez's comments, saying: "It didn't look that difficult to see it was offside.

"We're sorry about the goal we've conceded, but we've still got a chance in Kiev."


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