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Luis Enrique defends Mascherano after Eibar outburst

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique says Javier Mascherano did not deserve the red card he received for a rant directed at a linesman in the 3-1 win over Eibar at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Barca led 2-1 in the 83rd minute when Mascherano was sent off for an incident in which he reportedly said the phrase “the c*** of your mother”.

Hat-trick hero Suarez added a third shortly after, although the Argentinean’s dismissal struck something of a sour note for the hosts.

If he suffers the same fate as team-mate Gerard Pique, who was hit with a four-match ban for his rant during the Supercopa de Espana in August, Mascherano will miss El Clasico against Real Madrid next month.

But Luis Enrique backed his midfielder, saying afterwards: “Today is the best example, referees sanction more the protests than hard tackles.

“A hard team like Eibar could have seen more cards. This is something usual and we have to improve this. Mascherano didn’t talk to the referee, he said something normal in a football match.

“Mascherano said ‘la concha de tu madre’ – it is a typical Argentine expression like we say here ‘los cojones’ or something like that. You have to see if he said that to the referee or just to the air.

“We have to try not to fall into this but it is complicated during a football match.”

Suarez’s hat-trick rescued Barca, who had fallen behind after a sluggish start, with the Spanish champions moving second and level on points with leaders Real Madrid.

The Uruguayan’s display came a year to the day since his Barca debut and he told reporters: “We won a hard match, I’m so happy about having achieved this and I’m so pleased to have helped the team to get goals.

“We had complications but we demonstrated why we are the current champions of La Liga.

“It will be a hard year, teams that are in the top will fight to be there until the end. Real Madrid will always be there.”

Sun 25 Oct, 2015
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