Atletico slam refs after controversial Barcelona defeat

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Atletico Madrid is still seething after being reduced to 10-men against Barcelona on Tuesday and subsequently chucking away a 1-0 lead as they lost 2-1 at the Nou Camp.

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During the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg, Fernando Torres put Atleti 1-0 up and everything was looking rosy for the capital club.

Then, El Nino was shown two quick soft yellow cards and was sent off in the 35th minute.

Atletico held on until the final 27 minutes but then Luis Suarez struck twice to give Barca a slender advantage before the second leg at the Vicente Calderon on Apr. 13.

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Speaking after the match Atletico defender Filipe Luis said the following when asked about the referees and an incident involved Suarez and Juanfran where the Barca attacker seemed to slap and kick the Atleti man.

“They protect Barca,” Luis said. “There is a worry that they’re going to get knocked out. I don’t know what [a Barcelona player] has to do to get sent off.”

Atleti’s manager Diego Simeone was fuming: “I can’t say what I want … I need to think about what I’m saying so I don’t say anything I shouldn’t.”

After the game Torres took to Twitter to accept the blame for the defeat but also launched a scathing attack on the officials when speaking on Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.

“They shouldn’t have been cards. If it had been the other way around then they wouldn’t have been given,” Torres said. “With 11 [men] we would have won without any doubt… UEFA worry about making us change shirts, but they didn’t appoint a referee that is up to the level of the Champions League quarter-finals.”

Safe to say the second leg between La Liga’s top two will be a very spicy encounter in the Spanish capital next week with Atleti only needing a 1-0 win to advance to the semifinals on the away goals rule.