Chelsea recorded back-to-back victories for the first time since October by beating Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night.
Facing a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, the Blues returned to form at the weekend by beating Leeds by the same scoreline before goals from Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz turned their last 16 Champions League tie with BVB around.
The result eases a smidge of pressure from the shoulders of Chelsea manager Graham Potter, though his opposite number Edin Terzic and England international Jude Bellingham were less than satisfied with the officiating, especially surrounding the match-winning penalty.
The referee in charge on Tuesday night was Danny Makkelie. The 40-year-old Dutchman is closing in on 300 matches officiated in the Eredivisie and is a regular in the Champions League, having made his debut in 2014. Coincidentally, that game also involved Chelsea, who thumped Slovenian outfit Maribor 6-0.
The original awarding of the penalty looked controversial in itself. A cross from Ben Chilwell hit the arm of Marius Wolf from close range, with Makkelie consulting the pitchside monitor before pointing to the spot.
After some protestations from the visitors, Havertz eventually took the penalty but saw the effort clatter off the post and away to safety. With the score locked at 1-1 on aggregate, Dortmund looked to have evaded a knockout blow.
Once that penalty hit the post, Blues fans around the world got that sinking feeling. While Dortmund didn’t fashion many goalscoring opportunities, the miss may have provided them with an extra spark.
However, more checks took place from the officials and it was determined Dortmund midfielder Salih Ozcan had encroached into the ‘D’ outside the penalty box before Havertz had made contact with the ball. Makkelie was alerted to the infringement and ordered the kick to be retaken, drawing more ire from the visiting Dortmund players.
The visiting side felt aggrieved with Ozcan being penalised as players from both sides were ignoring the rule to get to the loose ball.
Kavertz made no mistake the second time around, picking the same side but finding the inside of the post instead.
Dortmund midfielder Bellingham disagreed with the decision but admitted he didn’t want to ‘get in trouble’ with any post-match quotes on the penalty decision.
On Wolf’s handball, he said: “I’m not sure what more he can do with his hand.
“That in itself was disappointing and the fact that they’ve had a retake, I think it’s a joke.
“For every penalty, especially when you have such a slow run-up, there’s going to be people encroaching into the box by a yard or so. He’s made the decision and we have to live with it.
“I don’t want to get in trouble. I’ve paid enough to them lot.”
If Bellingham was slightly restrained, teammate Emre Can’s reaction was slightly more sensational.
The former Liverpool utility man took issue with referee Makkelie’s attitude throughout the game, stating: “The referee. It was his fault today. How can you give the second penalty in the situation? How does it work? That simply does not work!
“I don’t give a s*** who walked in there before. He was arrogant the whole game – that’s where it starts. We lost here undeservedly because of the referee.”
“We play here at Stamford Bridge. Maybe he’s afraid of the fans, I don’t know. But then UEFA should send another referee.”
“Inches are deciding [who is] going to the next round,” manager Terzic added. “I’m responsible for the performance of my team, I don’t want to talk about the referee.
“I think it was a tight call and a harsh decision.”
Makkelie made friends in his prior Champions League game when he chalked off a last-minute Harry Kane winner against Sporting CP before sending off manager Antonio Conte.
On this edition of Son of Chelsea, part of the 90min podcast network, Daniel Childs reviews the Blues’ huge win against Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!