Drogba in trouble for intimidating referee

LONDON - Didier Drogba could be facing a lengthy ban from European football after angrily confronting Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo at the end of Chelsea's controversial Champions League semi-final second leg match with Barcelona in London on Wednesday.

LONDON - Didier Drogba could be facing a lengthy ban from European football after angrily confronting Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo at the end of Chelsea's controversial Champions League semi-final second leg match with Barcelona in London on Wednesday.

A stoppage time goal from Andres Iniesta earned Barca a 1-1 draw on the night and on aggregate and sent the Catalans into a final meeting with Manchester United at the end of this month on the away goals rule.

Chelsea had legitimate grounds for complaint after being denied at least two good penalty appeals by the referee, who was still considered good enough by Uefa to officiate at last year's Euro 2008 championships - but that will not be regarded as any excuse by Uefa when they come to judge Drogba's conduct.

Ovrebo had to be escorted from the pitch by a platoon of stewards with Drogba apparently bent on a physical confrontation.

To compound his intimidating behaviour, the Ivory Coast international then turned to a television camera and screamed into it, describing the official as a "fucking disgrace".

Chelsea are also likely to be in hot water with Uefa after infuriated fans threw flags at the officials and the Barcelona bench on the final whistle.

But Drogba is unlikely to be punished by his club as manager Guus Hiddink said he understood that emotions after such a match run high. The Dutchman, though, stopped short of backing up claims by Chelsea players that they had been conspired against by Uefa, who did not want a second successive all-English final.

Yet the red card for Barcelona defender Eric Abidal was difficult to call,

but there was a clear handball by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.

Pique, who most likely will play against his former club Manchester United in the final as Barcelona will be missing three first-choice defenders in Abidal, fellow fullback Daniel Alves and the injured Rafael Marquez, for his part admitted the ball had hit his arm.

"The ball touched my arm. The referee decided it wasn't a penalty and one has to respect the referee's decisions," he said. - AFP

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