London: Arsene Wenger accused Arjen Robben of diving to get goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny sent-off and kill Arsenal’s Champions League hopes against Bayern Munich.
Boosted by their man advantage, Bayern secured a 2-0 first-leg victory at the Emirates thanks to second-half goals from Toni Kroos and substitute Thomas Mueller. Arsenal manager Wenger confirmed he made a diving motion at Robben and Szczesny appeared to make an obscene gesture as he headed down the tunnel after being shown a red card by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli.
Bayern defender David Alaba missed the resulting penalty after Mesut Ozil had seen an early spot kick saved by Manuel Neuer. “These rules are different in every country and in Italy you get sent off for these kinds of fouls,” said Wenger. “Our goalkeeper went genuinely for the ball, he touched Robben and he made certainly more of it. I told him after.
“Unfortunately, it changed the game completely, it killed it. Because up until then it was top quality, but in the second half I think it was boring for neutral people. It was one-way traffic and the referee made a decision that killed the game.”
Asked if he made his displeasure clear to Robben by making a diving motion, Wenger replied: “Yes. He has enough experience to know to make more of it. He conned the referee.
“Overall, I felt Bayern made more of every single contact and we are not used to it in England. The fouls that were given are not given in the Premier League. But we have to get used to it and accept it. I am not a good enough referee to say why he gave the red card. The regret I have is that it is a decision that he made. Wojciech misjudged the situation and there was no clear desire to make a foul.
“After that we had lost (Kieran) Gibbs and we lost a goalkeeper. We made two changes and were down to 10 men. We had no opportunity to change after that because you cannot bring anyone on in case anyone gets injured. It killed the game.”
On Szczesny’s obscene gesture, Wenger added: “I didn’t see it.”