Home Sport Barcelona’s Xavi furious at referee after they are knocked out by PSG

Barcelona’s Xavi furious at referee after they are knocked out by PSG

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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 mark after last man Ronald Araujo was shown a red card for a foul on Bradley Barcola.

FC Barcelona’s head coach Xavi Hernandez (left) speaks with an assistant referee during the UEFA Champions League quarter finals second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, in Barcelona, Spain, 16 April 2024. Picture: EPA, Alberto Estevez

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 Saint-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 mark 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 11, 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-time 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.”

Reuters

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