Madrid cry foul over officials

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Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka claimed the performance of the officials in Tuesday night's semi-final second leg at Barcelona proved his side had no chance of making it through to the Champions League final.

Madrid lost the first leg 2-0 and went behind to a Pedro goal nine minutes into the second half at the Nou Camp, before Marcelo netted a consolation as Barca won 3-1 on aggregate, but Madrid have pointed to an incident in the second half, when Gonzalo Higuain scored only to see his effort chalked off as play was stopped only moments earlier.

Cristiano Ronaldo accidentally tripped up Javier Mascherano in the lead-up play. And Karanka said: "(Jose) Mourinho was right. He said that it would be impossible for us to go through. This proved that it was impossible and 100 million people saw it - there is nothing more to add."

Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who kept his side in the game with a string of fine saves in the first half, was also frustrated at the decision to disallow Higuain's strike.

"It has happened again - just like always," he said after the game. "Playing 11 against 11 we have shown we can compete without complexes and it takes me back to the first game; if we had finished 0-0 (the score before Pepe was sent off), 1-1 would have taken us through to the final."

Mourinho, like Pepe, was banned following his own red card in last Wednesday's ill-tempered first leg and, unable to communicate with the Madrid bench during the game, the Portuguese chose to stay away from the stadium.


"We couldn't have any communication with him, but we talked about the game beforehand and the changes we could make," Karanka said.

"He wasn't on the bench and couldn't be in the ground, but we spoke after the game and he congratulated the team because we played well."

The match brought the sides' series of four Clasico matches to an end, with Barca getting the better of their biggest rivals overall.

The first meeting, 18 days ago, ended in a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu in the Primera Division, while Madrid came out on top to win the Copa del Rey four days later.

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