Suarez Sus­pen­sion, the Price Barcelona Paid for Copa Fi­nal

It is only by play­ing dif­fer­ent na­tions, in dif­fer­ent con­di­tions, that we can hope to progress. We have played at home against Eng­land re­cently, and then vis­ited New Zealand. Now we are play­ing in In­dia. It will help us judge our progress bet­ter. The Cata

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Ben Hay­ward

It was a ga me t hat had ever y t hi ng. Dis­al­lowed goals, red cards, a missed penalty, con­tro­ver­sial in­ci­dents and plenty of drama. In the end, Barcelona came through it to make the Copa del Rey fi­nal for the fourth year run­ning. But they barely de­served it.

Luis En­rique’s side beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the sides’ first meet­ing at the Vi­cente Calderon last Wed­nes­day, when mag­i­cal mo­ments­fromLuisSuarezandLionelMessi proved enough to win the match de­spite a plucky per­for­mance in which the home side im­pressed - es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half.

And if any­thing, that hap­pened again on Tues­day. Af­ter Atletico had missed chances in this match, a mes­meris­ing run from Messi ended with a shot which Miguel An­gel Moya could only push into the path of an un­marked Suarez to make it 1-0.

Atletico saw a goal ruled out in the sec­ond pe­riod when An­toine Griez­mann net­ted but was wrongly ruled off­side and, later on, Kevin Gameiro blasted over the bar af­ter the Ro­ji­blan­coswereawardeda­con­tentious­penalty fol­low­ing a chal­lenge by Ger­ard Pique.

As through­out much of the tie, Atletico were on top. That has not al­ways been the case this sea­son, per­haps the most dis­ap­point­ing cam­paign dur­ing Diego Sime­one’s spell in charge at the club, but his side have played their best foot­ball this term ver­sus Barca.

Atleti were a man up fol­low­ing the dis­missal of Sergi Roberto (on his 25th birth­day), but Yan­nick Car­rasco then also saw red and Barca ended the match with nine play­ers af­ter Suarez was ab­surdly given his march­ing his or­ders as well.

“I have to laugh at the send­ing-off,” Suarez told the tele­vi­sion cam­eras af­ter the match. “We could see it com­ing. The first yel­low was for the first foul I made in the match and the sec­ond one wasn’t even a foul.”

So while Messi, Jordi Alba and Sa­muel Umtiti man­aged to avoid a yel­low card which would have seen them miss the fi­nal against Alaves or Celta Vigo on May 27, both Sergi Roberto and Suarez will be sus­pended for the show­piece cup clash.

Aleix Vi­dal can fill in at right-back fol­low­ing his ex­cel­lent per­for­mances in re­cent weeks, but los­ing Suarez is a big blow for Barca and Luis En­rique.

The Uruguayan scored two of the Cata­lans’ three goals in this tie and he is a big rea­son why Luis En­rique’s side are in the Copa del Rey fi­nal for a third sea­son in a row.

The Barca boss also com­plained about his team’s in­abil­ity to re­tain pos­ses­sion. “We’ve to look at that, al­though I have com­plete con- fi­dence in my play­ers’ abil­ity to im­prove.”

They will have to. Be­cause even though Barca should beat Alaves or Celta at a neu­tral venue yet to be de­cided as usual, the team will be weak­ened by the loss of Suarez and the prob­a­blep­res­ence­ofPa­coAl­cac­er­in­his­place. With­out their deadly striker, the Blau­grana will need to do much, much bet­ter than this.

BARCA AP­PEAL AGAINST SUS­PEN­SION

Barcelona hope to re­verse Suarez’s sus­pen­sion af­ter launch­ing an ap­peal against the Uruguayan’s sec­ond book­ing, the Span­ish cham­pi­ons­saidonWed­nes­day.TheCuphold­ers said on www.fcbarcelona.com that they will al­soap­peal Ser­gio Bus­quets’ yel­low card inthegame,whichfin­ished1-1and­sealeda3-2 ag­gre­gate vic­tory to put Barca in the King’s Cup fi­nal for the fourth suc­ces­sive year.

Luis Suarez (R) get­ting the march­ing or­ders — AFP

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