Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba insists his team were denied a crucial penalty as they exited the Champions League at the hands of Atletico Madrid.
A brace from Antoine Griezmann at the Vicente Calderon saw Atletico to a 2-0 win on Wednesday, as Diego Simeone’s side advance to the semi-finals courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate victory.
But that was not before a controversial late decision as referee Nicola Rizzoli only awarded a free-kick for a Gabi handball, despite the incident appearing to have occurred inside the penalty area.
Alba refused to blame the decision for his side’s exit, but said a spot-kick should have been awarded. If converted, Barca would have forced extra-time and been afforded the chance to salvage their Champions League campaign.
“I was told it was [a penalty], I also saw it on the field,” he said.
“But it was not awarded and we have no choice but to move forward. The referee was good throughout the match.
“It’s true about the chance of a penalty, but plays like that sometimes are in our favour and others they hurt us. The referee had nothing to do [with the result].”
Griezmann opened the scoring with a 36th-minute header from a tremendous Saul Niguez cross before converting a late spot-kick.
Alba said there was still plenty to play for as Barca eye a double of La Liga and Copa del Rey to finish the season.
“In the first half it is true we were in our half more than in theirs, but they have fast players and they hurt us,” he said.
“In the second half we were better than them, possession was ours and we made chances but we couldn’t score and we have to focus on the league and the cup. There is a lot of season left.
“Atletico has been uncomfortable for years, not only for us but for all their rivals.”