Rafael Benitez fumes as decisions go against Chelsea

Updated: 14 April 2013 23:55 IST

Pressed on whether Argentine forward Aguero deserved a red card for a two-footed lunge on Luiz when the Brazilian was lying prone on the pitch, Benitez added: "See the video. I will not talk about players, for me the penalty decision was crucial." Benitez believes his players should take heart from the way they pushed City in the closing stages.

Rafael Benitez fumes as decisions go against Chelsea
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London:

Rafael Benitez insisted two poor decisions from the officials were decisive in Chelsea's 2-1 defeat against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday.

The holders were unable to reach a fourth final in five years as Chelsea's barrage of pressure in the closing stages failed to produce an equaliser.

Benitez's team fell two goals down after strikes from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero.

But Demba Ba's goal gave them a lifeline and the Chelsea interim manager was convinced his side were hard done by as Torres was denied a possible penalty, while Aguero escaped a red card for a nasty foul on David Luiz.

City were fortunate to escape in the closing moments when Vincent Kompany appeared to wrestle Torres to the turf as the Spanish striker raced onto a through-ball in the penalty area.

"Was it a penalty? Yes clearly. Very clearly," Benitez said.

"The penalty not being given was a key moment in the game as Vincent Kompany could also have been sent off.

"You can see the pictures. We have two situations like that in the second half.

"We played against a very good team, if they had scored another the game would have been over.

"But we keep going and we had chances to be back in the game so these decisions were very important."

Pressed on whether Argentine forward Aguero deserved a red card for a two-footed lunge on Luiz when the Brazilian was lying prone on the pitch, Benitez added: "See the video. I will not talk about players, for me the penalty decision was crucial."

Mancini hit back at Benitez's claims and said the only question was whether it should have been a foul by Torres on Kompany.

"For me it was a foul for us. And it was a penalty for us when Yaya (Toure) went to shoot in the second half," Mancini said.

Mancini also insisted referee Chris Foy was right not to send off Aguero.

"I don't think (it was a stamp). It was a tackle but Sergio is a good guy," Mancini added.

City captain Kompany agreed with his manager's assessment of the penalty incident and saluted his fellow defenders for holding firm at the end.

"I thought it was great defending against Fernando Torres, I put my body in the way," Kompany said.

"For a while, it was too comfortable and Demba Ba's goal was a wake-up call. In the end I thought we defended really well and did a great job."

Although City's failure to retain the Premier League title and their lacklustre efforts in the Champions League will define their campaign, Mancini's men can finish on a high with a win over Wigan in the final.

"It was a difficult game. The players did well to win this game, fighting for every ball until the last second," Mancini added.

"In the first half we had everything under control. When Demba Ba scored, it caused us a problem for 10 minutes.

"When we won the FA Cup against Stoke, it was a difficult game, and I expect the same against Wigan.

"But now we have to win the final and finish second in the championship, that is our target."

While City go in search of their second Cup final win in three years, Chelsea now have to focus on finishing in the Premier League's top four and their Europa League semi-final against Basle.

Benitez believes his players should take heart from the way they pushed City in the closing stages.

"I am really disappointed with the result. When we played with Fernando Torres, the team had more energy," he said.

"If you see the performance in the second-half, the players will know they can do well in the rest of the season. You could see we had energy, quality and desire."

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