Van Persie fumes over red card as Barcelona beat Arsenal

Robin van Persie hit out at referee Massimo Busacca after the Dutchman was sent off in Camp Nou defeat

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST-16 SECOND-LEG, 8 MARCH 2011, CAMP NOU
team1
Barcelona
Messi (45, 71 P) Xavi (68)
3 – 1
team2
Arsenal
Busquets (52 OG)

Furious Robin van Persie slammed the referee over his astonishing red card after Arsenal were sent crashing out of the Champions League by Barcelona.

With the score level at 1-1 the Holland striker was shown a harsh second yellow card by Massimo Busacca for firing an effort at goal after having been given offside.

Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona went on to win the clash 3-1 to seal a 4-3 aggregate victory after Xavi and Lionel Messi added to the Argentine’s first-half opener.

A fuming Van Persie labelled the Swiss official’s decision as a “total joke”. He 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)?”

The gap between Busacca’s whistle and Van Persie’s shot was only a second and the forward told Sky Sports: “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 boss Arsene Wenger, whose side had drawn level early in the second half thanks to a Sergio Busquets own-goal, was also raging over the decision at the final whistle.

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 absolutely 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.”

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