Atletico claim ref biased

Luis Suarez scoring the second goal for Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Atletico, who played the Champions League match with 10 men for over an hour, say the Uruguayan was lucky to stay on the pitch despite multiple incidents. German referee Felix Brych s
Luis Suarez scoring the second goal for Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Atletico, who played the Champions League match with 10 men for over an hour, say the Uruguayan was lucky to stay on the pitch despite multiple incidents. PHOTO: REUTERS
Luis Suarez scoring the second goal for Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Atletico, who played the Champions League match with 10 men for over an hour, say the Uruguayan was lucky to stay on the pitch despite multiple incidents. German referee Felix Brych s
German referee Felix Brych sending off Atletico forward Fernando Torres (left), as midfielder Gabi (second from left) and defender Diego Godin protest.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Suarez escapes red card and nets second-half double for Barca to win after Torres is sent off

BARCELONA • Defender Filipe Luis accused Uefa of conspiring in favour of Barcelona after 10-man Atletico Madrid fell 1-2 in their Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash with the holders on Tuesday night.

Fernando Torres had put Atletico in front at the Nou Camp before receiving two quick-fire yellow cards to leave the visitors a man light for over an hour.

Luis Suarez eventually converted Barca's relentless second-half pressure into a 2-1 lead, as he struck twice in 12 minutes.

But Atletico were enraged as Suarez, unlike Torres, remained on the pitch despite kicking out at Juanfran in the first half and another off-the-ball incident with Luis.

"I don't know what Barca players have to do to get sent off just like us," the Brazilian defender told Spanish TV station Mega. "You can tell there is fear that Barca will be eliminated."

  • 30 

    Red cards shown to Barcelona's opponents in the Champions League. No team have had more rivals sent off in the competition.

  • 13 

    Atletico Madrid have never progressed in each of the 13 times in which they lost a first-leg match to Barcelona.

  • 11 

    Luis Enrique has won all 11 of his Champions League games at the Nou Camp as Barcelona manager.

Suarez eventually received a yellow card in the 70th minute when he raised a hand to Luis' face.

Torres was booked for a late tackle on Neymar in the middle of the pitch four minutes after scoring and got his marching orders for a second yellow minutes later for fouling Sergio Busquets.

"They were two plays which could be a card or not," Torres said of his incidents.

"If it had been the other way around, then they wouldn't have been given," the striker told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope. "With 11 (men) we would have won without any doubt."

The Spaniard claimed Uefa has its priorities wrong after making both sides play in their away kits to avoid a colour clash.

"Uefa worry about making us change shirts, but they didn't appoint a referee that is up to the level of the Champions League quarter-finals," he said.

Their reaction could prove costly should Uefa feel the need to impose bans on those that have launched attacks on German referee Felix Brych, who also sent off Arda Turan in Atletico's Champions League quarter-final defeat by Real Madrid last season.

Atletico manager Diego Simeone attempted to show more restraint and in the circumstances, was happy to escape Catalonia with the tie still in the balance.

"There were more than two incidents involving Suarez," he said. "I can't say what I think, but I am not angry with Fernando (Torres) for sure.

"We had a great first half, in the second we tried to limit the damage as much as possible for the game that is still to come.

"Beyond the inequality there was in the match, we leave with a situation that allows us to have hope."

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique was understandably less sympathetic towards Torres.

"Both of Torres' two yellow cards are clear. They may have been unintentional, but they are clear," he said, adding that the sending-off changed the game in which Barcelona enjoyed 75 per cent of the ball.

"We were able to move the ball with pace and the second half worked out perfectly."

The teams will meet again in the second leg at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2016, with the headline 'ATLETICO CLAIM REF BIASED'. Print Edition | Subscribe