Messi denies play-acting against Chelsea
The Argentine teenager denied claims by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho he had play-acted, adding that Del Horno had fouled him moments earlier.Updated: Feb 23, 2006 16:38 IST
FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi said he didn't feign injury when Chelsea defender Asier Del Horno was sent off during Wednesday's Champions League game at Stamford Bridge.
Messi rolled on the turf after Del Horno body-checked him near the corner flag during Barcelona's 2-1 first-leg win. Norwegian referee Terje Hauge sent off Del Horno.
The Argentine teenager denied claims by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho he had play-acted, adding that Del Horno had fouled him moments earlier.
"No way. You could see easily in his first tackle he got me with a high kick and, in the second, Del Horno deliberately went in very strong but I jumped and he didn't get me," Messi was quoted as saying on Thursday by news agency Efe.
Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard said the 18-year-old wasn't a player to overreact, while teammate Deco said Del Horno's tackle had been "really hard."
"It left him with an ugly mark on his foot," the midfielder said.
Mourinho had been convinced Messi's reaction led to the sending off, saying Barcelona, being "a very cultural city," knew "all about theater."
"I'm not annoyed with Asier del Horno. He comes for a cover, comes for a tackle, he goes for the ball, he doesn't touch the ball but the boy when he saw him come, he (Messi) jumps on him. And after that, rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling, roll," the Chelsea coach added.
Despite its numerical disadvantage, the English champion took the lead in the 59th minute when Barcelona midfielder Thiago Motta turned Frank Lampard's free kick past his own goalkeeper.
The Spanish champions equalised in the 71st when Ronaldinho's free kick flicked off Chelsea captain John Terry's head into the net.
Samuel Eto'o headed the winner nine minutes later to give Barcelona an advantage for the second leg at the Camp Nou on March 7.
Ronaldinho, who also said he thought Del Horno's dismissal was correct, said Barcelona had achieved a "very good result." "It was important to get a win," the Brazilian said.
First Published: Feb 23, 2006 16:38 IST