Valencia have announced that they will issue a formal protest following their hugely controversial Uefa Youth League last-16 penalty defeat to Chelsea on 23 February. The Spaniards earned a 1-1 draw at Cobham courtesy of a spot-kick from Carlos Soler that cancelled out Jay Dasilva's opener, but eventually bowed out of the tournament after Alberto Gil's shoot-out effort was wrongly adjudged to have struck the post, when it had actually crossed the line and rebounded back off the inside stanchion.
Despite the player's vigorous appeals, referee Adrien Jaccottet and his assistant stood firm on their decision and the visitors, who could have won the tie in normal tie only for Isma Martínez to blaze over from 12 yards, eventually lost the shoot-out 5-3. Unsurprisingly, the bizarre incident has caused no shortage of controversy and Los Che have now confirmed their intention to lodge a complaint with European football's governing body.
In a statement released via their official website, the club said: "Valencia CF wishes to inform all our fans that the club will submit a written protest in connection with the refereeing decision to deny our youth team a goal on penalties in the Uefa Youth League match against Chelsea FC. We are confident that Uefa will give an appropriate response required by the situation, then they have the opportunity to discuss our claim level."
Valencia president Lay Hoon Chan was present in Surrey and urged the team's youngsters not to be too dispirited by such an obvious refereeing mistake. She said: "We all feel immensely proud of the performance and fighting spirit you have shown today. I am sure that the experience gained in this competition will help you to be even stronger as professional players. Do not lose your confidence and your faith in football because of this incident."
The youngsters' understandable frustration was echoed by first-team manager Gary Neville, who tweeted: "Scandalous!!! Can't believe what I've just seen."
Chelsea are the defending champions of the U19 Uefa Youth League, having beaten the likes of Zenit Saint Petersburg, Atletico Madrid and Roma en route to a 3-2 final victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in April 2015. They are one of only two British teams remaining in this year's competition, following Manchester City's loss away to Real Madrid. Middlesbrough will look to book their place in the quarter-finals with a trip to Paris Saint-Germain on 24 February.