Gabi: It was handball, but…

Atletico Madrid captain Gabi admits he handled late on as Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League but ‘a penalty? I don’t know…’

Barca were incensed when referee Nicola Rizzoli signalled for a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area with Atleti leading 2-0 on the night and Barca needing a goal to take the game to extra time, replays suggesting Gabi was inside the box.

“Yes, I handled. I was on the line and it hit my hand. The referee whistled for it outside the area,” Gabi acknowledged, AS reports.

“I don’t know if I was inside or outside. Sometimes you get it and other times you don’t. If it was inside, it was inside. But we can’t focus on that one play, we deserved to go through.”

Gabi added that the performance of Atleti meant they merited the last four place, not the defending champions, but he insisted the team wasn’t going to get carried away.

“I think the team made a tremendous effort. We defended well and did well on the counter-attack, we had chances, we hit the bar. We deserve to go through,” he continued.

“In the second half Barca pushed us back. But the team defended very well and countered well. It’s deserved.

“It’s early, we’re in the semi-finals, not the final. We have to keep working with humility and wait for the draw. What’s to come will definitely be complicated.

“Does the Champions League owe Atleti? More than that, we’ve deserved it.”

Tags Gabi