Rodgers rages that officials are turning football into a video game

Brendan Rodgers rages that officials are turning football into a COMPUTER GAME with VAR… as the Celtic manager vents his frustration over Daizen Maeda’s red card in Champions League hammering by Atletico Madrid

  • Celtic suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat with Daizen Maeda shown a red card
  • Their Champions League hopes are in tatters with just one point in four games
  • Chris Sutton: ‘How my son nearly died’ – Listen to It’s All Kicking Off podcast

Brendan Rodgers claims officials are turning football into a video game with VAR, as the Celtic manager was left fuming at Daizen Maeda’s red card during their humiliating 6-0 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid.

Rock bottom of Group E, the loss of an early goal to Antoine Griezmann was exacerbated when Maeda had a yellow card upgraded to red for a clash with Mario Hermoso after 22 minutes following a VAR intervention. 

Atletico boss Diego Simeone and a group of backroom cohorts raced from the technical area, sparking an angry reaction from Rodgers when the Dutch referee was called to the pitchside monitor. 

Rodgers who was booked for dissent, when asked if the reaction of the home bench influenced the referee’s decision, said: ‘Yes, there is no doubt.

‘I don’t want to go on about the officials — you have to accept decisions. But it feels more like it’s a computer game now with the constant looking at the screens.

Brendan Rodgers was unhappy with Daizen Maeda’s red card in their loss to Atletico Madrid

Maeda was initially shown a yellow card for his challenge on Atletico Madrid’s Mario Hermoso

After a VAR check the yellow card was upgraded to a red – costing Celtic dearly in their match

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‘When the referee comes over to see the incident it’s not a reflection of the actual challenge. It’s a still, with his foot up, which straight away plants the seed for the referee and from there his influence is to send the player off.’

Rodgers believed that the referee seeing a freeze-frame of Maeda’s studs on Hermoso made it look worse than it actually was.

‘We are clearly very, very disappointed. It was always going to be a challenge for us with 11 versus 11 with their quality.

‘We get the man sent off so early in the game, after we had made a good start and looked confident, and were ready to fight in the game.

‘But really, really disappointed with the sending off. When you see the images the referee saw, it wasn’t representative of the actual challenge.

‘Both players clashed feet and kicked each other and for us then to lose a man for that was going to be really, really difficult.’

Despite Rodgers’ protests, Celtic were ripped apart with doubles from Griezmann and Alvaro Morata and goals from Samuel Lino and Saul Niguez.

Now five points adrift of third-placed Feyenoord, they need to beat Lazio and the Dutch side in their final two games — while relying on favours from Atletico — to have any hope of extending their European run beyond Christmas.

Admitting the Champions League has once again exposed a ‘huge gulf’ between Celtic and Europe’s elite, Rodgers added: ‘These players gave everything, they are pushing it to the limit, 11 versus 11, then ten. They are giving everything in the game, but their sheer quality overrides our effort.’

Rodgers was unhappy with Diego Simeone’s conduct as the Argentinian appealed for the punishment to be upgraded.

Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann both scored braces in a 6-0 victory for the Spaniards


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