Football

Karanka: Semi has been overshadowed

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Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka believes Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona has been tarnished by UEFA's decision not to charge the Catalans following the bad-tempered first meeting at the Bernabeu last week.

Madrid had complained of play-acting by Barca's players and alleged that Blaugrana midfielder Sergio Busquets had directed a racist remark at Brazilian full-back Marcelo during last Wednesday's ugly encounter, but European football's governing body threw out their complaint on Monday.

"Tomorrow's match has been overshadowed by UEFA's resolution - it's on another plane now," said Karanka. "We have been punished but there are (Barca) players who didn't respect the principles of fair play or who made racist insults, covering their mouths, who will be on the pitch tomorrow."

Karanka's fiery remarks are sure to whip up yet more controversy ahead of the match, which will see Madrid missing both Pepe and Sergio Ramos through suspension.

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, who chose to sit out Monday's pre-match press conference, will also be watching from the stands at the Nou Camp after he was dismissed during his side's 2-0 reverse in the first leg last week.

Mourinho courted controversy after last week's match by claiming Barcelona receive favours from UEFA, in addition to questioning the ethics of the club's relationship with Unicef and branding Barca's 2009 Champions League win "scandalous".

The comments prompted Barca to file a complaint with UEFA, but that too was dismissed by the governing body.

Mourinho will nevertheless watch the match from the stands, but Karanka insists the mercurial coach will still be in a position to influence proceedings.

"He will be in the stands, but he will be able to get his message across," Karanka said. "If we could win and dedicate the victory to him it would be something important.

"Real Madrid have 109 years of proud history and we will fight to the end."

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Topics:
European News
Football
UEFA Champions League

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