Atlético Madrid left baffled as Luis Suarez avoids red card

Uruguayan kicked out at Juanfran off the ball during 2-1 win

 Diego Simeone: ‘I can’t say what I want … I need to think about what I’m saying so I don’t say anything I shouldn’t.’ Photograph: Afp

Diego Simeone: ‘I can’t say what I want … I need to think about what I’m saying so I don’t say anything I shouldn’t.’ Photograph: Afp

 

Diego Simeone and Filipe Luís both hinted Luis Suárez was lucky to remain on the pitch after the Uruguayan scored twice as Barcelona came from behind to establish a 2-1 lead over Atlético Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Fernando Torres put Atlético in front on 24 minutes but was then shown a red card after collecting a needless second caution. A second-half double from Suárez gave Barça their win after the striker had escaped punishment for appearing to lash out at the defender Juanfran.

“They protect Barça,” said the former Chelsea defender Filipe Luís. “There is a worry that they’re going to get knocked out. I don’t know what [a Barcelona player] has to do to get sent off.”

Coach Simeone added: “I can’t say what I want … I need to think about what I’m saying so I don’t say anything I shouldn’t.”

The home side, who had seen their long unbeaten record ended following a late defeat at home by 10-man Real Madrid in el clásico on Saturday, could have found themselves further behind after an under-par first-half display. But despite seeing their advantage cancelled out, Filipe Luís believes the tie is still very much in the balance for the second leg at Vicente Calderón next week.

“We had our chances. We always knew it was going to be really difficult but we think we are still alive,” he said.

“They won, they have the result on their side, they had a lot of chances, and fortunately for us they only scored two goals, so it could have been worse. We are still alive. We have to win now. It is possible but it will be really difficult.”

Filipe Luís was also unhappy with the decision of the German referee Felix Brych to dismiss Torres. “It was a totally unfair red card, his second foul and his second yellow. We knew that was going to happen, Barcelona in the Champions League. We have to play against everybody and everything,” the defender said. “The manager said we needed an epic game to win. Now it will be difficult but we are still alive.”

Torres later wrote on Twitter: “I take responsibility for our defeat but now more than ever let’s go to the Calderón for a comeback. On the personal side I am very sad and feel very responsible. With 11 it would have been different. It’s a complicated situation for me. It’s one of my worst days as a footballer.

“They were two plays which could be a card or not. What’s a shame is that Uefa are more worried about the colours of the shirts and not choosing a referee of the right level.”

The Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano believes Luis Enrique’s men have the required focus to progress to the last four. He said: “We know we have to go to Madrid to do our work and will try to do our same work as we did in the second half, which is the way to try to go to the semi-finals. We had some clear chances to score another goal but the main target before the game was to win and we will try to do that again in Madrid. We are focused in the game for the semi-finals and will do everything to get there.”

Enrique hailed the efforts of his men. “We must appreciate the difficulty that (it is to) play against Atlético. With this attitude and these players we will go to the end of the world,” he said.

Simeone believes the visitors remain very much in the tie. “Beyond the inequality there was in the match, we leave with a situation that allows us to have hope,” he said. “I am very happy with my team. Once again, we started winning, we were doing very well.”

(Guardian service)

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