Last night’s bad-tempered Copa del Rey clash between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona saw the two sets of players square-off while they were walking off the pitch at half-time. The incident-ridden match saw the visitors Barcelona defeat the hosts Atletico 3-2, enabling them to go through to the semi-finals 4-2 on aggregate.
Goals from Neymar and an own goal from Miranda saw the Catalans overcome the Rojiblancos, who got their goals from Fernando Torres and Raul Garcia. The match saw two red cards shown to the Atleti players, with skipper Gabi sent-off in the tunnel at half-time for complaining excessively about the referee’s decisions, while Mario Suarez was given his marching orders late on for a second bookable offense.
The game also saw a few separate incidents of players taunting each other and losing their cool at referee’s decisions, with Turan throwing his shoe at the linesman and Juanfran showing seven fingers to Neymar the prime among them.
The incident in question saw Fernando Torres and Neymar engage in an exchange of opinions that saw both of them push each other, following which they had to be separated by their teammates before the situation escalated.
Gabi critical of Neymar’s behaviour and referee’s performance
Atletico Madrid captain Gabi was quite frank in his comments after the match, as he spoke at length about the referee’s performance and Neymar’s behaviour. He specifically said that the Barcelona goalscorer was quite unsportsmanlike in his conduct.
"[Neymar] has a way of playing which is a bit peculiar, above all when his team is winning. He always makes gestures on the pitch. Nobody likes to lose and, with the tension, these things annoy you."
When asked about the referee Gil Manzano, he said, “Well, my words were 'Jesus, it was a penalty and a red card; look at the TV, you will see you have made a mistake'. Then I shouted, and he said 'you are sent off'." I did not say anything else. The team was left with a man less, and you saw that in the second half."
He believed that the referee should have discussed the decisions better with his teammates, and that caused them to be a little irritated with the players. He added, "We all make mistakes, but we must accept our errors. Of course, he should have more responsibility, and more dialogue with the players."