Michael Oliver makes Champions League howler during night to forget

Guardiola wants more Champions League success for Man City

Premier League referee Michael Oliver had a howler in the Champions League on Wednesday night after sending off Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella during the Italian side’s clash with Real Sociedad. The British officials in Spain had a night to forget as Oliver was forced to reverse his decision after being summoned to the VAR monitor.

Oliver is one of England’s most experienced referees and has taken charge of 352 Premier League matches since beginning his career as an official. And on Wednesday he was at the Reale Arena as Real Sociedad and Inter got their Champions League campaigns underway.

The hosts came storming out the blocks and took the lead after just four minutes as Brais Mendez dispossessed Alessandro Bastoni and lashed the ball into the back of the net. And the Spanish giants would have extended their lead had they not been guilty of wasteful finishing.

Oliver may have been hoping to avoid the limelight and allow the game to flow as the two sides battled for supremacy after the interval. But the 38-year-old had a big decision to make when Barella appeared to stamp on Mendez midway through the second period.

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With the Real Sociedad goalscorer wriggling around on the floor following a tussle with Barella, Oliver went straight to his pocket to send the 47-cap Italy international off. But after seeing the incident again, the referee performed a U-turn and allowed Barella to stay on the pitch.

Despite being dominated for much of the encounter, Inter thought they had drawn level 11 minutes from time when Marcus Thuram turned the ball in from close range. But the strike was chalked off as Real attempted to cling on to the three points. The San Siro giants did eventually earn a share of the spoils, however, as World Cup winner Lautaro Martinez struck three minutes before the end.

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The result means Sociedad and Inter both have one point, with RB Salzberg claiming top spot in Group D after seeing off Benfica at the Estadio da Luz in Portugal.

Oliver, meanwhile, will be hoping to put the mistake behind him when he returns to Premier League duty on Saturday to oversee Brentford’s clash with Everton in west London. Brentford are 11th in the top-flight table after picking up six points from their opening five matches, while Everton are 18th after drawing one game and losing their other four.

And Oliver will have Graham Scott as his video assistant referee and Dan Robathan as his assistant video assistant referee if he needs to turn to the monitor again during the encounter.

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