By 90Min
March 16, 2018

AC Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu has hit out at Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson after his side's 3-1 Europa League defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates on Thursday.

The Turkey international broke the deadlock on the night after a stupendous strike 30 yards from goal, putting Milan ahead and back in contention to qualify after their 2-0 defeat to the Gunners in the first leg.

However, then came the controversial moment that spurred Calhanoglu's comments as Ricardo Rodriguez was penalised for an apparent foul on Danny Welbeck. The replays suggested that there was minimal, if any contact. Welbeck converted the spot kick to put the home side 3-1 up on aggregate

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Arsenal went on to win 3-1 on the night with further strikes from Granit Xhaka and a second from Welbeck. 

After the match, Calhanoglu told Milan TV (via ESPN): "The referee was man of the match. I will never forget that.  We played well and it's not easy to do that here. We scored and then conceded an incredible goal, it's not normal in the Europa League to see something like that.

"Ricardo Rodriguez didn't touch him, but for the referee it was a penalty anyway. I was fouled in the first leg and didn't let myself go like that. It's obvious that was the incident that changed the game. We reacted well even after their equaliser and had chances, but this is football."

Meanwhile, Rossoneri boss Genaro Gattuso refused to call out Welbeck for the dive as he said: “He is a striker. He has to do what he does. But we can’t use that as a reference for entire English football. There’s a lot of fair play in England. There was a lot at stake tonight.

"Even myself, when I was a player, I would try and take advantage of some situations. I’m not going to criticise these things. I don't want to talk about the referee. I don't want any alibi. In the same way [goalkeeper Gianluigi] Donnarumma made a mistake, as you can, a referee can make a mistake as well."

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