Mikel Arteta has explained what the referee told him about Arsenal’s late penalty appeal in their draw against Bayern Munich.

Bukayo Saka went down in the box after his right leg was caught by Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer as he rushed out to close him down. Referee Glenn Nyberg immediately waved away his appeals and quickly blew the final whistle on the exhilarating draw in the first leg of the two sides’ Champions League quarter-final.

Saka was furious at the decision and could be seen chasing after Nyberg to protest, while many of his team-mates surrounded the Swedish official. Arteta walked onto the pitch to shake his players’ hands and speak to the referee and he explained what was said in his post-match interview.

Asked what the referee said to him, Arteta told TNT Sports: “Nothing, I didn’t say anything, they said that they checked it and they decided it wasn’t a penalty.” It was a controversial end to a gripping game in north London, which leaves the second leg in Germany well poised.

Saka put Arsenal 1-0 up with a brilliant curling finish into the bottom corner, but Bayern roared back to lead at the break. Serge Gnabry fired past David Raya on the stretch to level things up before William Saliba’s foul on Leroy Sane gave Harry Kane a penalty, which he coolly slotted into the corner.

Arteta’s substitutions made a difference, with Gabriel Jesus coming off the bench to set up fellow sub Leandro Trossard to stroke home for 2-2. And Arsenal felt it could – and should – have been even better, but referee Nyberg waved away Saka’s appeals for a penalty in injury time.

Arteta felt his side should have taken a firmer grip on the match and could have been 2-0 up before Bayern’s fightback. He singled out Ben White for missing a glorious opportunity in the first half when through against Neuer.

“I think we started pretty well,” he said. “I think we were dominant, we didn’t concede anything and we had a feeling that we were more of a threat, we score a really good goal and after that is the moment of the game when Ben is in front of Neuer and had we put them 2-0 down it would’ve been a very different match after that.

“Straight after that, the ball is open, we should manage the ball, but we give it to the opponent and they score and that created some uncertainty and the second goal as well is unusual for us to concede. But this is the Champions League – you make a mistake and you get punished.

“A lot of the simple thing with the ball, especially today, I think we haven’t done it with the standards that we usually do and have allowed them to have spaces to run and they are very dangerous. But even with the 2-1 the team tried to find the rhythm and it was composed, we didn’t start to rush things and the changes made a big impact to score the second goal.”