Barcelona Coach Xavi Criticizes Referee Decisions in Champions League Exit

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández expressed frustration over the referee’s decisions following their Champions League elimination on Tuesday, as reported by ESPN. The Catalan side suffered a 4-1 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Olympic Stadium, resulting in a 6-4 aggregate loss.

Xavi was particularly incensed about the red card shown to defender Ronald Araújo during the match. The Romanian referee Istvan Kovacs sent Araujo off for a last-man challenge on Bradley Barcola, which Xavi believed changed the course of the quarterfinal tie. He criticized Kovacs, calling him a “disaster” and stating that the red card “marked the tie.”

The match started favorably for Barcelona, with Cole Palmer scoring a first-half hat-trick as they led 4-2 on aggregate. However, PSG’s Kylian Mbappé, Ousmane Dembélé, and Vitinha orchestrated a turnaround, clinching a 4-1 victory for PSG on the night.

Xavi also highlighted another contentious decision when the referee opted not to award a penalty for a challenge on Ilkay Gündogan, which led to Xavi’s own expulsion from the sidelines.

Reflecting on the match, Xavi acknowledged the disappointment among the Barcelona camp. He stated, “It’s just a shame that the hard work of an entire season ends because of one refereeing decision.”

In response to Xavi’s comments, PSG coach Luis Enrique remained focused on his team’s performance, expressing faith in their ability to progress even without Araújo’s red card. Enrique, who had previous ties with Barcelona as a player and coach, emphasized the importance of making fans happy and hoped for a successful campaign ahead.

While PSG shifts its focus to domestic competitions, Barcelona faces a crucial fixture against Real Madrid in El Clásico, where they aim to keep their title hopes alive in LaLiga.

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