Gündogan directs criticism not at referees after red card, but at teammate

Xavi and the Spanish newspapers pointed the finger at the referees after Barcelona's elimination from the Champions League, but Ilkay Gündogan believes that Barça has only itself to blame. The German midfielder was critical of Ronald Araújo and the defense after the defeat to Paris Saint-Germain (1-4).

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 10:59, 17 Apr 2024

Barcelona entered the return match with a 3-2 lead and quickly extended their advantage through Raphinha.

However, the dynamic of the game shifted dramatically after Ronald Araújo received a red card in the 29th minute, leading to Barcelona's eventual collapse. Xavi and the Spanish press criticized the referee, Istvan Kovács, for his decision, but Ilkay Gündogan directed his frustration towards his teammate instead.

"This is the Champions League. Regardless of the opponent, it's impossible to come back when one of your players is sent off," Gündogan explained to the Spanish media. He supported the referee's decision, stating, "It's a foul, it's a red card. But you probably know better."

Gündogan argued that Araújo should have allowed his opponent, Bradley Barcola, to proceed instead of committing to a tackle that resulted in his dismissal. "At such crucial moments, you have to be sure that you can win the ball; otherwise, it's better to let him go. Maybe the keeper saves us in that situation. And if not, you concede a goal. But a red card so early in the game is fatal," Gündogan commented, clearly frustrated by the tactical naivety shown.

The defense's lapses continued to haunt Barcelona, particularly evident in Vitinha's goal for PSG. The goal resulted from a quickly taken corner that saw Vitinha unleash a long-range shot into the net, exploiting the lack of defensive coverage. "Another mistake. We should never have allowed him to shoot from there; he was completely unmarked. It's not like we haven't trained for that. Someone has to step out. That didn't happen, and then it was too late. It was a good shot, but it was an unnecessary goal conceded," Gündogan lamented.

In the second half, as Barcelona pushed for the goal that would force extra time, Gündogan found himself at the center of another controversial moment this time involving a penalty claim. "That's what I told the referee, but instead he gave me a yellow card," Gündogan revealed, expressing his disillusionment with the officiating. This compounded the disappointment for the veteran midfielder, who had experienced the pinnacle of European club success with Manchester City the previous season. "We had everything in our own hands, but we gave it away very easily. That's the most disappointing part," he concluded, reflecting on a night where strategic errors and disciplinary issues culminated in a costly Champions League exit for Barcelona.

Updated: 10:59, 17 Apr 2024