Belfast Telegraph

Van Persie brands dismissal ‘total joke’

By Sam Wallace

Robin van Persie labelled his dismissal “a total joke” as Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League to Barcelona in acrimonious circumstances.

With the teams level on the night at 1-1 and the Gunners holding a 3-2 aggregate lead, the Holland forward was shown a harsh second yellow card for lashing a shot at goal having already been given offside.

Barca went on to win 3-1 and complete a 4-3 aggregate success, and Van Persie said: “I think (the red card) had a big influence. I think it's a total joke — how can I hear this whistle with 95,000 people jumping up (and shouting)?”

Just a second elapsed between referee Massimo Busacca blowing his whistle and Van Persie striking the ball, and the latter continued: “That makes it even worse. I cannot understand that view from the ref.

“If there were four, five, six seconds in between, you can make a check (for offside). One second, it's a joke.

“I tried to explain there were 95,000 people jumping up, how can I hear the whistle?

“He's been bad all evening, whistling against us. I don't know why he's here tonight. We feel betrayed a bit, when it was 1-1 it was all to play for and in my opinion this referee killed the game.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: “We lost against a good team. In the first half we resisted pressure. I think the second would have been very interesting if we had stayed 11 against 11 — unfortunately it was not the case.

“There are regrets when you see how we went out — the way we did, it is very difficult to accept.”

On Van Persie's second booking, he said: “With the people shouting, if he takes his chance I see no reason to give a second yellow card. To do that, (the referee) must have never played football.

“I told him what I think about his decision face to face and there is not a lot more to say.”by sam wallace

Belfast Telegraph

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