RB Leizpig coach Jesse Marsch has accused the referee of showing Paris Saint-Germain’s superstars too much respect — and his players not enough — during their 2-2 draw at home in the Champions League.
A last-gasp penalty by Leipzig substitute Dominik Szoboszlai sealed a 2-2 draw with PSG after Georginio Wijnaldum netted twice to cancel out Christopher Nkunku’s early goal for the hosts.
Marsch clashed in the first-half with Swedish referee Andreas Ekberg, who booked Leipzig’s American coach following a heated exchange on the sidelines.
“I was really angry from the start with the performance of the referee,” fumed Marsch, who felt the official allowed too many decisions to go the way of the star-studded PSG team, which included Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
“In a few moments, it honestly felt like he (Ekberg) wanted to get an autograph from Neymar after the game.
“I have often experienced that the big clubs get all the respect from the refereeing team, but not the little clubs.”
The draw ended Leipzig’s faint hopes of reaching the Champions League’s last 16 at the bottom of Group A while PSG yielded top spot in the table to Manchester City who thrashed Brugge 4-1 on Wednesday.
Marsch’s booking was one of ten yellow cards Ekberg dished out in a bad-tempered match, four to Leipzig, six to PSG, and the American explained why he lost his temper.
“The only way to change (the situation) was to escalate my emotions -– even when the fans whistle, it changes nothing,” he said.
“I told the fourth official, ‘I have two choices — either I sit here and take it all from you, or show some emotion and try to get some more respect from the referee’.
“It’s great to have Neymar, (Angel) Di Maria and Mbappe here in Leipzig –- they’re great players –- but let’s have a normal game where everyone can say it was fair.”
Marsch cited the example of the stoppage time penalty when PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe clumsily leapt onto Nkunku as a cross came in and Szoboszlai made no mistake with the spot kick.
“The second penalty was really, really clear, but he (Ekberg) still needed to check the VAR just to be sure,” Marsch grumbled.
It was the second penalty PSG conceded, but Leipzig striker Andre Silva had his first-half attempt saved.