Pep Guardiola refuted Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s claims that Jose Mourinho had been right to argue that Barcelona are beneficiaries of dubious decisions at the Nou Camp, after his side eliminated AC Milan to reach the Champions League semi-finals — for the fifth successive season — with a 3-1 home victory over the Italian side.
Two Lionel Messi penalties and Andres Iniesta’s cute finish ultimately rendered Antonio Nocerino’s away goal midway through the first half just a consolation. The first leg in Italy had finished goalless.
Guardiola was convinced that both penalties were correctly awarded. “Ibrahimovic can say the same as Mourinho but we respond on the pitch. They were two penalties,” Guardiola said.
“They were fouls in the area and they were given so they were two penalties. This is what I have been taught since I was a child. If Ibrahimovic says it is thanks to the referees then fine, but we have qualified five times and the players speak on the pitch, which is where they should do their talking.”
About Barcelona’s triumph, Guardiola said: “We have eliminated one of the big sides in Europe. It has been a very difficult victory. If people were expecting a 6-0 or a 7-1, it doesn’t work like this. Everything we have done is to win the game.”
Messi’s brace took him to 51 Champions League goals — at 24 the youngest player to achieve the half century landmark — and a record total this season of 14, bettering the previous mark held by himself and legendary Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy of 12.