Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres has claimed that his sending off against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals was never a red card.
Torres was sent off shortly after he scored Atletico Madrid’s goal against Barcelona for a challenge near the half-way line, earning him his second yellow card of the night.
With 10 men, Atletico Madrid mostly defended for the better half of the match and two Luis Suarez goals in the second half led Barcelona to a 2-1 win. Torres drew heavy fire for his sending off by pundits across the world. However, the former Chelsea man believes the red card was unwarranted.
“I’m convinced the second yellow card was not a card, I felt a mix of impotence and frustration,” Torres told the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Tuesday, when describing his foul on the midfielder Sergio Busquets.
“When I see it again I see a slip-up. It’s not a kick nor a late tackle. The only argument is that it was an action that could have been avoided. My ambition to make it 2-0 ended up harming the team.”
Torres further said that Atletico Madrid could have won the match if there were 11 men on the pitch and dubbed his sending off as the worst thing in his career so far.
“I’m certain that with 11 players we would have won. The following days after the game were difficult. It took two days to get over what happened. The moments after the sending off were the worst of my career. I just wanted to be alone.”
Atletico Madrid have a huge task on their hands
With Fernando Torres out of the return leg and Barcelona playing away at the Vicente Calderon, fortune could favour Atletico Madrid as the away goal might prove important in the 2nd leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Although, with the attacking trio of Barcelona — Messi, Suarez and Neymar — in sterling form, the Atletico Madrid defence would have a stern test of their credentials.
The first goal might prove to be pivotal in the tie. If Barcelona score, the fixture is more or less over. But if Atletico Madrid score, then the game is back to level terms on aggregate.