VALENCIA • Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri lamented the lack of a video assistant referee (VAR) in this season's Champions League after a tearful Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off during his team's 2-0 Group H win over Valencia on Wednesday.
"I can only say that VAR would have helped the referee make the right decision," the Italian said after the Portuguese forward's controversial red card on his debut in the competition for the Italian champions.
"Going down to 10 men in the Champions League for an incident like that is disappointing. We risked losing tonight with that and we'll miss him for the next games, too."
European football's governing body Uefa has indicated that it plans to implement VAR in Europe's premier club tournament only next season after it was used, largely successfully, at the World Cup last summer.
The decision by German referee Felix Brych, after consulting his assistant in the 29th minute, looked harsh in retrospect and would likely have warranted at least a VAR review.
Valencia's Jeison Murillo tracked Ronaldo into the box and, as the players tussled, the defender fell to the ground. The Juventus forward gestured at his marker to get up, and appeared to put his hand on the Colombian's head. Brych gave a straight red to the former Real Madrid star.
It remains to be seen how Uefa would judge Ronaldo's offence, but he will miss at least the next game at home to Switzerland's Young Boys on Oct 2. After that comes the double-header against former club Manchester United in which he may also be suspended if his ban is extended to three games.
POTENTIALLY GAME-DECIDING CALL
I can only say that VAR would have helped the referee make the right decision. Going down to 10 men in the Champions League for an incident like that is disappointing. We risked losing tonight with that.
MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI, Juventus coach, on the decision to send off his forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
The forward, signed from Real for €100 million (S$160 million) in July, had never been sent off in his previous 153 appearances in the Champions League.
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci was also surprised to see the referee produce a red card.
"I think it was just a normal clash," he told Sky. "It seemed like Murillo put his hands on him first. He (Ronaldo) was pretty angry (in the dressing room)."
Despite the incident at the Mestalla, home of Valencia who are owned by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim, Juve still won the game thanks to two penalties from playmaker Miralem Pjanic.
While lesser teams might have crumbled, playing with 10 men for more than an hour showed the pedigree of the Italian champions.
"We were playing very well until Ronaldo's sending off, but we continued to play our football despite that blow and deservedly scored two goals," the Juve coach, whose team were Champions League runners-up twice in the past four seasons, said.
"Playing here is not easy, but we all pulled together as a team to defend these three points."
He was very upset, crying, because he said he didn't do anything wrong.
MARCELINO, Valencia coach, on Ronaldo's reaction to his first-ever red card in the Champions League.
Juventus have won seven Serie A titles in a row, but the Champions League is the one they covet. They were last European champions in 1996 when Ronaldo was 11 and playing youth football for Nacional.
Valencia fans celebrated the 33-year-old's dismissal like a goal from their team, but the Spanish side could not capitalise on playing against 10 men for more than hour.
"It's obvious that the penalties have impacted us," Valencia coach Marcelino said. "The penalty just before half-time was a real blow, the other penalty was then a death sentence for us."
When asked about the Ronaldo incident, Marcelino added: "He was very upset, crying, because he said he didn't do anything wrong."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS