Maccabi boss blasts referee Webb after Champions League KO

By Simon Griver, August 25, 2011
Howards’s Way: Nir Davidovitch looks down and out

Howards’s Way: Nir Davidovitch looks down and out

Maccabi Haifa boss Elisha Levi has launched a scathing attack on England's World Cup final referee Howard Webb following his side's exit from the Champions League.

Maccabi, who crashed out of the competition following a penalty shoot-out defeat by Belgian champions Genk, were incensed by a number of Webb's decisions during the second leg of their play-off tie.

Webb, who is regarded as one of the top referees in world football, courted controversy after sending off Itzhak Cohen for a second bookable offence during extra-time.

The Premier League official was fully 40-yards away from the action but still decided to give Cohen his marching orders – despite the assistant referee failing to flag for a foul.

Levi was already fuming at Webb's failure to spot infringements in the lead up to both of Genk's goals as the Belgians overturned a 2-1 first leg deficit with a 2-1 victory of their own before winning on penalties.

Webb was heavily criticised by Levi

Webb was heavily criticised by Levi

"I think Genk's goals were both scored with a great deal of help from the officials," blasted Levi.

"There were clear fouls before the goals on Itzhak Cohen and Gustavo Boccoli."

Eyal Golasa's spectacular strike had cancelled out Jelle Vossen's opener for Genk, only for former Rangers man Thomas Buffel to take the game into extra-time and penalties.

Maccabi duo Golasa and striker Vladimir Dvalishvili both had their spot kicks saved as the home side triumphed 4-1.

The defeat is expected to cost Maccabi eight million euros after they missed out on a place in the prestigious Champions League group stage.

Instead, Levi's side are expected to pocket just one million euros after dropping into today's Europa League draw.

Former Maccabi hero Elyaniv Barda, who scored a crucial away goal for Genk last week, was left in the unfamiliar situation of celebrating a Haifa defeat.

He said: "It was weird for me to play against the team I helped become champions twice.

"But there was no sentiment on the pitch, only afterwards. It's a great feeling for us and cruel for them."

    Last updated: 1:49pm, August 25 2011