LIMA - The Peruvian media ganged up on Bolivian referee Rene Ortube after Saturday's World Cup qualifying loss in Argentina, alleging he "robbed" them of a result.
Peru, who had no chance of reaching the finals even before the game, were already sore after Martin Palermo scored Argentina's winner in stoppage time to keep Diego Maradona's side in the hunt for the fourth and final automatic regional qualifying spot.
And several newspapers insisted on Sunday that the Peruvians should have had two penalties, depicting Ortube as the villain of the piece in a 2-1 loss.
"We were robbed!" was the headline in Todo Sport and also Peru21, while Correo preferred "barefaced robbery".
The Ojo tabloid alluded to the Andean regional rivalry between Peru and Bolivia - once the same territory - as well as to Bolivian President Evo Morales in its headline "One of Evo's compatriots robbed us of the match".
Ortube did not award Peru a penalty at 57 minutes when Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze appeared to elbow Peru's veteran winger Nolberto Solano.
"(Argentina) benefited from a clear penalty in the area which referee Ortube did not blow for in a critical decision," wrote Emilio Laferranderie, a Uruguayan reporter at El Comercio.
Peruvian reporters felt Palermo was offside when he scored in the 92nd minute. The media also accused the referee of preferring to blow the final whistle rather than award the Peruvians a spot kick at the death for an apparent foul in the Argentine box. - Sapa-AFP