Calabar - Ethiopia coach Bishaw Sewnet has blamed Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama for robbing his team of a chance of a making the World Cup finals for the first time.
Sewnet's side went down 2-0 to Nigeria on Saturday, giving the Super Eagles a 4-1 aggregate victory over the two legs, to send them to the finals for the fifth time.
But the coach said: "The referee won the game for Nigeria. He denied us two penalties and gave them a soft penalty. These were not fair decisions by the referee."
Liverpool striker Victor Moses tucked away the penalty after Anyalem Hailu handled inside the penalty area then Victor Obinna fired home a free-kick to kill off the game.
Sewnet said the two teams were not evenly matched in terms of experience, with Nigeria featuring more European-based players used to football at the highest level.
"My players are young and most of them play locally but Nigeria have professionals who play in Europe and so they are ahead of us," he added.
"But we will continue to work hard so as to be one of the best teams in Africa."