Infamous ref Øvrebø concedes mistake in THAT Chelsea vs Barcelona semi-final

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Referee Tom Henning Ovrebo makes a decision during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg match between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on May 6, 2009 in London, England
Photo: Jamie McDonald/GETTY IMAGES

Former referee Tom Henning Øvrebø has finally admitted that Chelsea probably did deserve a penalty in their hugely controversial Champions League semi-final loss against Barcelona in 2009.

The Blues were infamously denied a place in the 2009 Champions League final by a series of baffling refereeing decisions in their semi-final against Barcelona.

With the tie poised on a knife edge at 1-0 on aggregate, Øvrebø turned down multiple Chelsea penalty shouts in the second leg, including two late on for handballs by Gerard Piqué and Samuel Eto'o.

And to shine an even brighter spotlight on the Norwegian official's decisions, Andrés Iniesta then struck in the dying minutes to put the Catalans through on away goals.

Thirteen years on from that controversial night in London, Øvrebø has suggested that he might have gotten away with his poor display if Iniesta had not scored.

Speaking in an interview with Sportsmail, the 55-year-old said:

I'm sure the end of the match would have been much easier for us as a refereeing team if that goal had not been scored.

Chelsea would have gone through to the final and their supporters would have gone to the pub and said, "maybe we should have had one or two or three or four or five or six penalties... but it doesn't matter tonight because we're through to the final."

Of course, as a referee you know a goal like that creates more discussion and more reactions and more controversies around the decisions you have already made in the match.

And whilst he is adamant not all of their appeals were valid, Øvrebø accepts at least one penalty should have been given.

I don't think the Chelsea supporters are correct when they claim four of five penalties, but I think everybody that knows football and the laws of the game knows there should have been a penalty given.

That happens, especially before VAR. Sometimes you miss a penalty, sometimes you miss a red card or a crucial decision. And I think everybody that knows football knows there should have been a penalty.

They can speculate themselves which ones should have been a penalty. I will not give you a correct answer on that because I don't have the correct answer, I just have my perception of it.

The chaotic scenes of a berserk Michael Ballack chasing and shouting at the referee around the pitch followed by Didier Drogba screaming down a TV camera: "It's a disgrace! It's a f****** disgrace!" will never be forgotten by all those who witnessed the drama unfold.

In a match like that when you have so many penalty appeals, sometimes as a referee you get concerned about not being fooled by the team. So maybe that could have influenced my perception in a negative way.

That could be it. I don't know for sure, I'm just speculating with you. That could be one kind of explanation, that you don't want to seem like a referee that is pressured to give a penalty. So then maybe you perceive the situation more strictly in a way.

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