Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Arsene Wenger slammed a mistake by the additional referee that led to Olympiakos’ first goal as Arsenal lost 2-1 in Athens, wrecking their chances of finishing top of Champions League Group B.
With qualification already secured ahead of the fixture, Wenger had elected to leave several first-team regulars behind as 20-year-old defender Jernade Meade made his European debut.
Although Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky fired the English side ahead after 38 minutes, the Greeks fought back through a somewhat controversial effort by Giannis Maniatis and a well-taken strike from substitute Kostas Mitroglou.
The defeat, coupled with Schalke’s draw in Montpellier, saw the Gunners finish as runners-up behind the Bundesliga side.
And although Wenger was unhappy with Olympiakos’ opening goal, he had few other complaints about his team’s performance.
“It was an interesting game,” he told ITV1.
“We had a good first half and we had two or three chances to score a second goal, but we needed a second goal tonight.
“The younger players did well for an hour, that is very positive. Now we have to wait for the draw, but ideally you want to finish first [in the group].
“The first goal was a goal kick, though, simple as that. What the referee behind the goalline is doing nobody knows, but I don’t think it was the right decision.
“We had a positive game. It was not the result we wanted but overall it was a very encouraging game.”