Gabi slams ‘irritating’ Neymar

The midfielder was dismissed during Wednesday night’s loss against Barca and has criticised the Brazilian’s provocative behaviour on the field

Gabi slams ‘irritating’ Neymar

Atletico Madrid ace Gabi has hit out at the attitude of Barcelona attacker Neymar.

The 31-year-old midfielder was one of two Atleti players dismissed in an all-tempered affair at Vicente Calderon, which the Catalans won 3-2 to secure a berth in the Copa del Rey semi-finals thanks to a 4-2 aggregate triumph.

Gabi was sent off during the half-time interval following a spat with the Brazil striker and criticised his opponent’s on-field behaviour after the match.

“He’s got an odd way of playing, particularly when he’s winning,” the former Spain Under-21 man told the media.

“He’s always making gestures on the field, especially when he’s in front. Nobody likes to lose and these things irritate you.”

Meanwhile, the Atletico man has protested that he was harshly dealt with regarding his red card, which came in the wake of the home side being denied a penalty when Antoine Griezmann’s shot was blocked by Jordi Alba’s arm. To compound their frustration, Barcelona broke up the field immediately and scored through Neymar.

“I said: ‘It was a penalty and a red card.’ That was my disrespect, according to [the referee]. I’m sorry for my team.

“I think the referee has to have much more personality and more respect for the players.

“We are all wrong sometimes. To be just, acknowledge your mistakes.”

Barcelona will now go on and meet Getafe or Villarreal

Luis Enrique: I loved everything about Barcelona against Atletico

The Blaugrana boss was thrilled with the way in which his side responded to the concession of an early goal at the Vicente Calderon and their control of the second half

Luis Enrique: I loved everything about Barcelona against Atletico

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique lavished praise on his players after they booked their place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals with a dramatic win over Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.

The Catalans led 1-0 from the first leg at Camp Nou but Fernando Torres levelled the tie on aggregate after less than 60 seconds of play at the Vicente Calderon.

Neymar equalised only to see Raul Garcia make it 2-1 from the penalty spot. However, Barca booked their place in the last four with a Miranda own goal and another Neymar strike just before the break.

Atletico subsequently saw Gabi and Mario Suarez sent off, while Arda Turan was booked for hurling his boot apparently towards a linesman as Diego Simeone’s side lost their discipline.

However, Luis Enrique did not want to be drawn on the numerous controversial incidents during the game, preferring instead to salute his team’s character.

“I liked everything about my team, especially the way in which they recovered from a strange situation at the begining of the match when we went 1-0 down after a minute,” the Barca boss told reporters after the game.

“Atleti are an amazing team and they are doing a great job, winning titles in a great way, while the pitch was in very bad condition. The ball was bouncing around the place like a rabbit!

“I don’t know if that’s down to the weather but my team adapted to the conditions and I’m very happy with the performance.

“I loved the second half. We had a lot of control.”

Luis Enrique also singled two-goal hero Neymar out for special praise after an inspired performance.

“Neymar gives us a lot,” the former Spain international added. “He scores, dribbles, he’s brave – he played a great game.”

Barca will now face Villarreal or Getafe in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey

Atletico Madrid 2-3 Barcelona (agg 2-4): Neymar shoots down nine-man Rojiblancos in Copa cracker

The Brazilian netted twice for the visitors as Diego Simeone’s men lost their heads, with Gabi and Mario Suarez both getting sent off and Arda throwing his boot at a linesmanAtletico Madrid 2-3 Barcelona (agg 2-4): Neymar shoots down nine-man Rojiblancos in Copa cracker

Barcelona defeated nine-man Atletico Madrid 3-2 to progress to the last four of the Copa del Rey 4-2 on aggregate after a sensationally volatile encounter in the Spanish capital.

The Blaugrana arrived at the Vicente Calderon with a one-goal advantage from last week’s first leg at Camp Nou but Fernando Torres levelled the tie on aggregate inside 60 seconds with a low finish, only for Neymar to respond in kind in the ninth minute.

Raul Garcia put Atletico back ahead on the night with a contentous penalty but Barca went in 3-2 ahead at the break thanks to an own goal from Miranda and Neymar’s second strike of the evening.

Gabi was then dismissed during angry scenes during the half-time interval that also saw Raul Garcia clash with the Barca bench, while Arda Turan then dramatically threw his boot at a linesman early in the second half.

All hope Atletico had of turning the tie around disappeared in the closing stages when Mario Suarez was sent off for a second bookable offence for dissent, thus bringing an end to an incredibly contentious and exciting encounter.

Within the opening minute Torres had levelled the tie following some uncharacteristic sloppy Barcelona defending from Javier Mascherano.

His long ball out of defence was intercepted by Guilherme Siqueira on the halfway line, he found Torres and the striker fired into the bottom corner.

With noise reverberating around the Vicente Calderon, Atletico appeared to have the upper hand, but Neymar soon quietened them down with an equaliser after nine minutes.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez combined well on the right-hand side, before the latter played a perfect pass for the Brazilian, and he made no mistake to beat Jan Oblak.

Neymar thought he had extended Barca’s aggregate lead in the 18th minute as he raced clear from a long clearance to score, but the assistant referee’s flag denied him on this occasion.

Antoine Griezmann should have restored Atletico’s advantage on the night three minutes before the half hour, but he fired straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Within 60 seconds, though, they were ahead as Raul Garcia scored from the spot – the midfielder firing home from 12 yards after Mascherano was adjudged to have fouled Juanfran on the edge of the area.

Barca levelled eight minutes later thanks to a Miranda own goal. The defender miscued a clearance into his own net following Sergio Busquets’ header.

And, as the momentum shifted in their favour again, the Catalans went in at the break ahead after another swift counter-attack. Atletico had seen a penalty appeal waved away before Messi led the charge up the other end of the pitch and found Jordi Alba, who played the ball in for Neymar to score.

The drama did not let up and, as tempers began to fray at the break, Atletico midfielder Gabi was dismissed in the tunnel for his involvement in a fracas.

Arda Turan was then lucky not to follow him early in the second half when he was only shown a yellow card having thrown his boot at the assistant after the the non-award of a foul.

Barcelona’s man advantage enabled the visitors to dictate the pace in the second 45 minutes, and they slowly took the sting out of Atletico’s play.

Diego Simeone’s side were still able to create some chances, with substitute Cani having the best of them when his 70th-minute strike was well saved by Ter Stegen. But any hopes Atletico had of mounting a late comeback ended with seven minutes remaining when Mario Suarez was sent off.

Barca had done enough and now await Getafe or Villarreal in the semi-final, with those two due to meet on Thursday.