Benitez rues penalty decision in Chelsea defeat

Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has criticised the award of a penalty in Chelsea’s Europa League defeat to Steaua Bucharest, ESPN has reported.

The 34th minute penalty was converted by Raul Rusescu as Romanian side won the first leg meeting between the sides by single goal, Ryan Bertrand judged to have pulled down Rusescu in the penalty area as they challenged for an aerial ball.

Chelsea will have to win at Stamford Bridge in next week’s return leg by two clear goals, with any goal scored by Steaua complicating matters as it would constitute an away goal.

After the match Benitez said: “I think it was very soft. To give a penalty in this situation, and especially when you have so many referees in their positions, it is soft.” The manager added: “You cannot change the situation but it is very soft. If you give the penalty, why not the (red) card? Strange.

Both Benitez and goalkeeper Petr Cech felt Chelsea deserved more out of the game, with Cech claiming he barely had a save to make and Benitez criticising the state of the pitch and predicting a difficult game when the sides meet in London on Thursday.

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