Soccer-Xavi furious at referee as Barcelona knocked out by PSG

  • Football
  • Wednesday, 17 Apr 2024

Soccer Football - LaLiga - FC Barcelona Training - Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, Barcelona, Spain - November 3, 2023 Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez during training REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) - Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez berated the referee and said his performance cost Barcelona a chance to fight for a place in the Champions League semi-finals after they lost 4-1 to Paris St Germain and were knocked out of the competition on Tuesday.

After winning 3-2 in Paris and taking a 1-0 lead with an early Raphinha goal in the quarter-final second leg, Barca were down to 10 men just before the half-hour after last man Ronald Araujo was shown a red card for a foul on Bradley Barcola.

Xavi complained bitterly to referee Istvan Kovacs and ended up being shown a red card himself, which did not stop him going back to the pitch at the final whistle to voice his frustration again at the Romanian official after Barca's 6-4 aggregate loss.

"The referee was really bad. I told him his performance was a disaster. I don't like to talk about referees, but it had a clear impact in the season and it has to be said," Xavi told Movistar Plus.

"We are very upset and angry because the red card was the decisive factor in the match. With eleven we were in a good position, playing well and in command.

"It's too much to flash a red card in a game like this. There was another game after that ... It is a pity that the work of the season was ruined by an unnecessary expulsion."

After Araujo's dismissal PSG took control of the match and former Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele fired home for the visitors in the 40th to equalise on the night and Vitinha put them ahead with a strike from the edge of the box in the 54th.

Joao Cancelo fouled Dembele in the 61st minute with a sliding tackle to concede a penalty that Kylian Mbappe fired into the top corner to move the visitors in front in the tie.

Five-times champions Barca, who last reached the semis five years ago, tried to find a goal to take the game to extra time but Mbappe made the most of a counter attack to score and wrap up a semi-final place against Borussia Dortmund.

"We tried but today it was not to be," Barca midfielder Frenkie De Jong told reporters. "It's a big blow because we were convinced we could go through. We'll have to try again next season.

"I didn't see the play (in which Araujo was sent off). I just had the feeling that Barcola's control went well ahead him and into the goalkeeper's hands ... We tried after that, but we couldn't do any more."

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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