PSG players accuse referee of swearing at them during defeat to Man City

Paris Saint-Germain players angrily accused referee Bjorn Kuipers of telling them to “f— off” during their Champions League semi-final defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

Marco Verratti claimed he was sworn at by the Dutch official, while Ander Herrera claims he heard Leandro Paredes getting insulted.

Kuipers sent off Angel Di Maria for kicking out at Fernandinho and booked four other PSG players as the French champions lost their heads at the end of a 4-1 aggregate defeat.

“We are told about respect, about respect with the referees. He said ‘f— off ‘ to Paredes. If we say that, of course we get four matches (banned),” said Herrera to RMC Sport.

Verratti added: “The referee told me ‘f— k you ‘twice, I never said that because otherwise, I’ll take ten matches! But if you’re eliminated, it’s not the referee’s fault.”

Riyad Mahrez scored both goals for City in the second leg and he says PSG “lost their nerve” in the second half.

“They lost their nerve and started kicking us. They got the red card and after that it was more comfortable for us,” he said.

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino says the matter could now be investigated by governing body Uefa.

“We need to believe what they are telling us but the most important thing is we are not in the final,” said the former Tottenham Hotspur coach.

“I didn’t hear from the touchline but if something is there, maybe Uefa will investigate the situation. It is not an excuse to use and the most important thing is that we are not in the final.”

Pep Guardiola: PSG win is huge step for the club

Pep Guardiola hailed Manchester City reaching their first Champions League final as a huge step for the club.

The City manager dedicated the semi-final victory over Paris-Saint-Germain to the club’s Abu Dhabi owners, who took over at the Etihad Stadium 13 years ago, and former players who have helped their rise to within 90 minutes of European football’s summit.

Riyad Mahrez scored both goals in the 2-0 win, with PSG forward Angel Di Maria dismissed in the second half.

“Definitely, it is a huge step for all of us for the club and I am incredibly proud,” said Guardiola. “I think reaching the final has made a bigger picture of what we’ve done in the last four years. It’s incredible in all the competitions. Reaching the final is so difficult, it’s the toughest one because of the quality of opponents, the suffering in tough moments.

“Reaching the final is for our owners, chairman and all the people from Abu Dhabi. Also the players who played before for us, Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee. The guys that helped to take the club to another level who were here from when they took over. Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Sergio Ageruo, David Silva, many players who helped us to be at this stage, we want to share it with them. Without them it is not possible.”

City sealed their place at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium, against Chelsea or Real Madrid, after playing the first half in a hail storm. Ice was cleared off the pitch at half-time after Guardiola complained it was not safe for players.

By then, Mahrez had given City an early lead. In the second half Ruben Dias, John Stones and Kyle Walker were celebrating blocks like they had scored goals as they kept out Neymar and Di Maria.

“It’s a team game,” said Walker. “We all go and celebrate a goal and high-five but as defenders the main thing is keeping clean sheets, this season we have done tremendously well with that and have really sharpened up on our defensive duties. Blocking a shot is just like scoring a goal for me.”

Mahrez tapped in his second goal and Di Maria was dismissed for kicking out at Fernandinho.

“We were in the game at 1-0 down but in football you need to believe because if you can score one, you can score another two,” said PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino. “The red card changed that feeling, we were then open.”

City fans have not had an easy relationship with Uefa but their fans lined the streets around the stadium to show their support to the team as they looked to secure a place in the final. They will also celebrate winning the Premier League title should they win at the weekend.

“We loved it,” said Guardiola. “We lost a semi-final against Tottenham, the crowd suffered and we enjoyed it one minute and then suffered the next. It’s nice to be in a final but we missed them.

“Of course, it was so weird playing in an empty stadium. This achievement requires our people there. The club belongs to the people. We are here for a period but the fans always stay. Next season the doors are open and they have to support these players, what they’ve done is incredible in the toughest year.”