Barcelona defender Jordi Alba has insisted that referee Nicola Rizzoli “had nothing to do with the result” against Atletico Madrid, despite Gabi’s handball.
Barca were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty at the death, when Gabi blocked a shot in the Atleti box with his arm, only for Rizzoli to blow for a free kick, but Alba was in no mood to use the ref as a scapegoat in his side’s Champions League two-legged, quarter-final defeat.
“We were the best team in the second half,” he said after the game.
“We had chances but now we must focus on the League and [Copa del Rey] final.
“Atletico are always uncomfortable to play against. It’s difficult when they tighten up [at the back], but we still had chances.
“[On Gabi’s handball] I was told that it was a penalty. I also saw it, but they won and that’s it. Now, more than ever, we must be united.
“The referee did well overall. People can say he should’ve awarded a penalty, but they are phases in play which sometimes favour you and harm you in others.
“The referee had nothing to do with the result.”