Wigan boss Uwe Rösler accused Polish referee Szymon Marciniak of costing his side a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League. Rösler’s first game in charge of the Latics ended in disappointment as defeat in Slovenia brought their first European campaign to a disappointing close.
Jordi Gomez gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot in the 41st minute but moments later Maribor won their own penalty when Chris McCann was deemed to have handled Damjan Bohar’s shot.
Marciniak showed McCann a second yellow card and, although Scott Carson tipped Dejan Mezga’s spot-kick onto the post, the same player got to the rebound first to score.
Zeljko Filipovic grabbed the winner in the 59th minute with a superb strike into the top corner to ensure it was Maribor and not Wigan who progressed to the last 32.
Rösler , who left Brentford to succeed Owen Coyle on Saturday, said: “It was a deflected ball that led to a penalty, which could be discussed, but even worse was it leading to a sending off.
“He shot from a very close distance on to his thigh and from his thigh the ball bounced onto his arm. First of all, it’s not a penalty for me, and second of all, never a sending-off. I think the referee didn’t have his best day, he influenced the game in a massive way.
“He looked to me very inexperienced; he made a lot of errors. I’m very proud of my players, not only with the way they played but they never gave up. In the last minutes it was one-way traffic.
“I think everybody in the stadium would agree that we were the far better team. With no sending-off, we would have won the game.”
Marciniak laid out his stall early with bookings for Roger Espinoza and McCann, but Rösler added: “I didn’t have a good feeling, and not when the referee gave the two yellow cards but when the game started.
“My players deserved better, that’s all I can say about the referee. I’m very happy with the way we performed. I couldn’t see them scoring.”