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Wolfgang Stark may have attracted plenty of criticism from the Barca camp but has revealed that his boss is happy with his work.

German referee Wolfgang Stark, who officiated the first leg of the Champions League semi-final clash between Barcelona and Chelsea on Tuesday night was roundly censured by those in the Catalan quarter for his performance.

Stark was accused of allowing the English outfit to get away with a number of malicious tackles, not awarding a penalty for a foul on Thierry Henry and not sending off Michael Ballack. But the man in black has hit back with a response.

“It was a very spiteful contest in some areas and, although I do not advocate ugly fouls or dangerous plays, I deemed that it was normal for a Champions League semi-final,” he told German news agency DPA.

“I did not send off Ballack [with a second yellow card] simply because there was no reason to. He committed a normal foul and I awarded Barcelona a direct free kick.

“In any case, after the match, a delegate of UEFA told me and my assistants that Michel Platini was very satisfied with our work.”

With the help of former referees Pierluigi Collina, Hugh Dallas and David Elleray, Angel Maria Villar, who is part of the UEFA Committee and who is also president of the Spanish Football Federation, will choose the match officials for the return clash between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

KS Leong,