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Luicano Spalletti bemoans refereeing performance in Napoli’s Champions League loss to AC Milan

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti has criticised the referee’s performance in his side’s 1-0 loss to AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Italian manager saw his influential midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa sent off after receiving two yellow cards against the Rossoneri.

The first booking was controversial as there was a foul on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia in the build-up to Anguissa’s foul.

Kim Min-jae also received a yellow card for an angry reaction to the referee’s decision. Both players will miss the second leg at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

Despite being a man down, Napoli performed admirably. They could have equalised but for the brilliance of Milan keeper Mike Maignan.

After the game, Spalletti said (via Football Italia): “Commenting on games afterwards is a waste of time because we cannot change what happened.

“I saw a great attitude from the team – we tried to take the game to Milan even when down to 10 men.

“I congratulated Maignan on his saves – Milan are a great side and we played the way we needed to, the way I expected us to. So well done lads.

“We trust the squad. Any absence is damaging at this stage of the season, but we also have players who can fill in, which is why we are where we are.

“We are sad not to have Anguissa, as it feels unjust not to have him, but there’s nothing we can do.

“We were on the verge of substituting Anguissa when it happened. It is disappointing that it took us a minute or two to think of who to replace and I wasn’t paying enough attention to the referee.

“I don’t comment on the referee – that is not my role. I will say Anguissa got a lot of the ball.”

The Serie A table-toppers will go into the second leg in Naples confident they can progress to the semi-finals.

They will hope to have star centre-forward Victor Osimhen back for the next tie, but his injury situation is unclear.

The Partenopei missed his presence today, with Eljif Elmas playing as a false nine.

If Osimhen is absent, Spalletti will turn to Giacomo Raspadori as Giovanni Simeone is also injured.

Tanguy Ndombele will replace Anguissa in the starting XI for the next leg. He looked impressive in his brief cameo today.

Leo Ostigard is the like-for-like Min-jae replacement.

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