Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

He Tried to 'Do' Me; 'Cheat' Messi Hits Back at del Horno after Red Card

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

He Tried to 'Do' Me; 'Cheat' Messi Hits Back at del Horno after Red Card

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

LIONEL MESSI today accused Asier Del Horno of trying to 'do' him as the bad blood between Chelsea and Barcelona threatened to boil over yet again.

The 18-year-old was at the centre of controversy last night at Stamford Bridge as Del Horno was sent off just before halftime for his challenge on Messi and Chelsea's 10 men went on to lose the European Cup first-leg tie 2-1.

But Messi defended himself today, claiming that the Spanish left-back had already left a mark on his leg with one rash tackle before he came flying into the young Argentine again after he had taken the ball around Arjen Robben.

"It was already obvious from his first attack on me that he went in really to kick me on the knee," said Messi.

"The time the second one happened he came in really hard and I could see that he was going over the ball with the intention of 'doing' me. That was why I jumped and that is the only reason he did not do real damage to me."

Former Arsenal defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst also felt that Messi was roughed up by Del Horno.

He said: "I was a long way from the incident but the marks on Messi's leg are amazing. He has marks on his leg 20 centimetres long and the Chelsea player caught him with his studs.

I think he caught him really hard with the challenge.

"The sending-off definitely affected the game. It was difficult for Chelsea because they couldn't play their favoured system and they couldn't get out of their own half easily. It was the turning point. We're very happy with the result but it's not over yet.'

Jose Mourinho has urged UEFA to take a look at Messi's antics when he clearly feigned injury following Del Horno's clumsy challenge in the 37th minute of the explosive encounter.

But referee Terje Hauge today defended his decision to send off Del Horno, insisting he had no choice to show the red card and that he was confident his judgement was correct.

The Norwegian official said: "I feel it is important to see the situation live. When you see it in slow motion, you can be fooled by how he got into the situation.

"I have got a good feeling that I made the right decision myself, but the red card was a key moment for how the match would develop. …

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