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Sent-off Suarez hoping for Copa del Rey final ban reprieve

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Barcelona’s Luis Suarez reacts to a decision of the referee during their Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) semi-final 2nd leg match against Atletico Madrid, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on February 7, 2017 © AFP / PAU BARRENA

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb 8 – Luis Suarez is hoping an appeal will save him from missing the Copa del Rey final after being sent off for Barcelona in a bad-tempered semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid.

Suarez scored Barcelona’s goal as three players were dismissed in a 1-1 draw on Tuesday that secured Barca’s place in a fourth straight final 3-2 on aggregate.

However, the Uruguayan — sent off for the first time in three years at Barca — claimed a stray elbow on Koke as the game entered stoppage time wasn’t even a foul.

“It makes me laugh because it was like he (the referee) wanted to do it,” Suarez told Gol Television.

“We need to see if we can appeal the second yellow because it isn’t even a foul, but we already know how these things go.

“That is why I am so angry because it was absolutely nothing. The first yellow was also for the first foul I committed in the game, but you could see it coming.”

Atletico Madrid’s head coach Diego Simeone gives instructions to midfielder Koke during their Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) semi-final 2nd leg match against Barcelona, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on February 7, 2017 © AFP / LLUIS GENE

However, Barca boss Luis Enrique isn’t holding out too much hope of having Suarez available for May’s final against either Alaves or Celta Vigo.

“You have to appeal all you think is unjust, but when you look at the precedents, you see what normally happens with appeals,” said Enrique.

“Apart from the anger that the players who will miss the final feel, the important thing is that Barca have won.

“There are now only two teams that can win the Cup and we are one of them.”

Barca have still to lose a Copa del Rey tie against anyone other than Real Madrid since 2010.

However, they were given a mighty scare by an Atletico side that enjoyed the better of the chances on the night.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (R) fights for the ball with Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann during their Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) semi-final 2nd leg match, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on February 7, 2017 © AFP / PAU BARRENA

“Today the luck was with us,” added Enrique.

“Perhaps in these 90 minutes we didn’t deserve this result, but, overall, given the opponents we have faced, we deserve to be in the final.”

Yannick Carrasco forced Jasper Cillessen into a fine save after just six minutes before Suarez looked to have killed off the tie just three minutes before half-time.

However, most of the action came in the second-half as Barca’s Sergi Roberto and Carrasco both saw second yellow cards.

Atletico then had a goal by Antoine Griezmann wrongly ruled out and saw Kevin Gameiro’s penalty fly over the bar before the latter levelled on the night seven minutes from time.

“Once again despite the circumstances that they faced, the team put their body, soul and heart into a passionate tie as any Atletico Madrid player has to,” said boss Diego Simeone.

“We are out of the competition but have our heads held high and the strength that we have three fantastic months (ahead).

“Hopefully we can maintain what we showed against them in the second-half the other day and during the 90 minutes today.”

Atletico have endured a disappointing season so far as they languish well off the pace of Barca and Real Madrid in fourth in La Liga.

However, Simeone is hoping their display will spark a return to the form that took them to the Champions League final last season.

“Last year after we lost here with nine men, I went away saying that I felt something good could come of it and this time I feel exactly the same,” added the Argentine.

“When you lose in this manner, something special remains with the team, above all with such important competitions such as the fight we have in La Liga and the Champions League to come.”

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