BARCELONA - Arsenal's Dutch striker Robin
van Persie described his sending-off against Barcelona as "a
total joke" after his team's 3-1 defeat on Tuesday ended their
hopes of a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Van Persie, declared fit for the game only earlier on
Tuesday, was shown a second yellow card by experienced Swiss
referee Massimo Busacca in the 56th minute when he took a shot
at goal after being flagged for offside.
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His manager Arsene Wenger said he told the referee "face to
face" what he thought of the decision.
"The sending-off cost us the game," Wenger, who had a
furious exchange with the referee immediately after the final
whistle, told reporters.
"I think two kinds of people can be unhappy those who love
Arsenal and those who love football because it's very difficult
to understand his attitude.
"At the moment he made his decision it was a very promising
game, very interesting.
"If you have played football at a certain level you cannot
understand this decision. It's impossible.
"I think Barcelona is good enough to win in a normal way
against anybody. But you want to be allowed to win in a normal
Van Persie said Arsenal felt betrayed.
"How can I hear his whistle with 95,000 people jumping up -
how can I hear that for God's sake? Please explain that."
"We feel a little bit betrayed, when it was 1-1 it was all
to play for."
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said he understood Arsenal's
"I have sympathy with Arsenal," he said. "They can say `we
are out because we played 10 against 11' and I can understand if
they believe that.
"That's one way to analyse the situation that I can
understand. Our victory will be tarnished somewhat by Arsenal's
complaints and in a certain way I can understand Wenger."
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