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Barca see red over referee 'favouritism' at Clasico

Sergio Ramos’ header nine minutes from time proved to be the winner after Karim Benzema and Lionel Messi had exchanged goals in the first-half.

But Pique and his teammates were left aggrieved after Ramos appeared to bring down Adriano inside the box with Barca ’keeper Victor Valdes even receiving a red card for his protests after the final whistle had been blown.

“We said to the referee that it seemed clear to us, but we already know how these things go. Against Real Madrid, if the game is close, just by chance things tend to go in their favour,” said Pique.

“We are left with the feeling that a draw would have been a fair result if we had been given the penalty, but we cannot make this excuse because this team has too much quality to depend on refereeing decisions to win games,” he added.

Barca assistant boss Jordi Roura was also dismayed by the decision, but claimed not to have seen Valdes’ reaction towards referee Miguel Perez Lasa after the game.

“The incident with Adriano is clear. The images speak for themselves,” he said.

“I went to the dressing room as soon as the match finished and I haven’t seen anything,” he added.

Saturday’s defeat was Barca’s third in four games after also losing to Madrid in the Copa del Rey and Milan in the Champions League, but Roura insisted he was happy with his team’s efforts.

“We came here to widen the advantage but we have to be happy with the attitude of the team. They were brave and had chances at a place where it is very difficult to play,” he said.

“This is the league and it is different from the Champions League. We came here to pick up points but I am left with the good reaction of the team and we are happy despite the result,” he added.

Even Madrid assistant manager Aitor Karanka could understand Barca’s protests, but he reflected on what had been a perfect week for Madrid ahead of their decisive Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester United in midweek. “They could have had a draw and it is logical that they will complain but the important thing for us is victory,” he said.

“Everyone was saying that the season could end this week but the only thing that affects us is our work and that hasn’t changed. The way of working will continue to be the same,” he added.

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