Gerard Pique explains his role in Diego Costa’s dismissal during La Liga match at Nou Camp

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has explained his role in the red card saga issued to Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa.

The former Chelsea striker was shown a stright red card by referee Gil Manzano on 28 minutes, and he later revealed that he dismissed the 30 year-old for using offensive language.

After a short delay, Costa eventually exited the pitch, although Pique pursued his former Spanish international team mate and whispered something to him.

Football Espana reports that the Catalan centre back was rumoured to have said something imflammatory to Costa, however he has moved to quash those rumours.

“All I said to Costa was to calm down and to stop talking to the referee.

“I asked do you want a four match ban?”

Costa’s sending off will now be reviewed by La Liga, and he could face a early end to his season if he is found guilty.

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HT: Everton 1-0 Arsenal… Gunners are still knocking (Report)

Phil Jagielka’s tenth-minute finish from close range separates both Everton and Arsenal in the first half at Goodison Park.

Everton have been much the better side, and Arsenal will need to improve considerably to get back into this one.

It’s been quite the combative half, lacking in quality, which has played right into the hands of a tenacious Everton side.

Emery certainly isn’t adverse to making early changes, and given how that first half played out it would be no surprise to see him tweak things at the interval.

Perhaps Aubameyang will be called upon at the break, or maybe Ramsey will be brought on with the Gunners needing a combative spark in midfield.

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Liverpool in hot pursuit of former Manchester United star as Sadio Mane’s replacement

Reports in France claim Liverpool have identified former Manchester United Memphis Depay to bolster their attack if Sadio Mane leaves for Real Madrid.

According to L’Equipe, the Lyon forward’s form has alerted Liverpool, who are seriously considering a summer move for the Dutch.

The 25-year-old is scoring at a rate of a goal every three games with Lyon and for Holland he has eight in 11 games since the start of 2018. He was outstanding against Germany in the recent Euro 2019 qualifier.

The recent stats of the forward, who joined the French club in 2017 for £15m after an unsuccessful two seasons at Old Trafford, show that he could play across the front three positions.

Depay is reportedly keen on another chance at an elite club in Europe and is no doubt confident he can take it now.

Mane has been linked with a move to the Bernabeu following his recent hot scoring streak. The Senegal international has 12 goals in his last 14 appearances.

Diego Costa refutes referee’s match report that he insulted his mother during Barcelona encounter, Simeone, Koke react

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has refuted the allegation that he insulted referee Gil Manzano’s mother during their 2-0 defeat to Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Saturday night.

The Spanish international was given a straight red card on 27 minutes, after Manzano responded to alleged comments from the former Chelsea striker.

Costa denied the allegation which led to his dismissal in the match.

But Jesus Gil Manzano’s referee’s report from Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid outlined just why Diego Costa was shown a red card.

The Atletico forward was dismissed inside half an hour when he was involved in a confrontation with the referee.

“I s* on your wh* mother, I s* on your wh* mother,” Gil Manzano reports Costa as saying to him in the 28th minute of the game, according to Marca.

Manzano stated that Costa made insulting comments about his mother – and he was left with no option but to dismiss the 30 year-old.

Football Espana quotes Jan Oblak as saying that Costa assured his team mates he did not make any ‘ugly’ comments to the referee, and that was the reason for his anger in the immediate aftermath.

Atletico manager Diego Simeone stated that if the referee heard an insult, then Costa deserved to be sent off, however he criticised the inconsistency in similar situations.

“I asked the referee if what he said was so bad because we have seen Barca players do the same thing, saying things right in the referee’s face and they did not get sent off, they got away with it,” Simeone told a news conference.

“If Costa really said what the referee claims he did, then he was correctly sent off, but we must be doing something wrong as we have had seven players sent off in 11 games.

“I remember we had Fernando Torres, a global icon, sent off here for making two fouls.”

The club’s midfieder Koke claims that the red card affected the game and swayed the outcome in favour of Barcelona.

“We were playing very well before the red card. Playing with 10 men against one of the best teams in the world is always difficult,” Koke said.

“The team fought hard with ten men and we even had a couple of chances. Now we have to focus on the next game and try to finish the league in the best possible position.

“Whenever we come here something strange happens, we’ve had a lot of red cards against Barca and not all of them have been fair.”

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Zidane identifies reason Real Madrid players’ morale is low

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has given reason why the morale of his players is low during matches lately.

Los Blancos were not so impressive in the first half of their victory over Eibar on Saturday, leaving the initiative to their opponents who drew the first blood by scoring through Barcelona loanee Marc Cardona. But Karim Benzema’s brace saved the day for Real Madrid.

“This season we will win nothing,and we already know that.

“Playing for nothing is hard.”

The former Galactico was keen to direct any negativity away from the first half performance, preferring instead to focus on the improvements after the break.

“In the second half we changed things.

“We ran more, we were together and that changed the game.

“In the end, we must congratulate the players, as they battled hard and helped each other a lot.”

Messi, Luis Suarez’s goals end Atletico Madrid La Liga trophy hope

Barcelona waited until the last minutes of the encounter against Atletico Madrid to score the two crucial goals that ended Los Rojiblancos’ La Liga title aspirations.

The Catalan giants moved 11 points clear at the top of La Liga to practically ensure that the trophy will nestle at Camp Nou once again.

Despite Atletico needing to win to keep alive their title hopes, it was Barcelona that started on the front foot, with Messi and Philippe Coutinho both forcing saves from Jan Oblak.

Antoine Griezmann, who has been heavily linked with a move to Catalonia, wasted the visitor’s best chance of the opening half – and the home support made their feelings known about his poor performance.

The game was turned on its head on 27 minutes, as Diego Costa received a straight red card after an altercation with the referee – Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez booked in the melee that followed.

Simeone’s side battled hard with 10 men after the break and Los Rojiblancos had looked to be on course for a hard earned point.

However, Suarez capitalised on a loose ball to fire home four minutes from time, with Messi adding second lees than two minutes later.

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Zidane survives early scare as Karim Benzema’s brace seals victory for Real Madrid

Real Madrid fought back after falling behind through a shock goal in the first half to win 2-1 over Eibar.

Los Blancos slipped to their first defeat since his return to the club, as they lost 2-1 away at Valencia in midweek, and they looked on course for another defeat as the Basque side took an early lead.

Marc Cardona had the freedom of the home penalty area on 39 minutes, and he clipped home past Keylor Navas, to give Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side a first half lead.

The hosts reacted positively at the start of the second half, with Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale both missing chances to equalise, before Karim Benzema headed home from Asensio’s back post cross.

The former Lyon man sealed all three points for Zidane’s side on 81 minutes, again getting above his marker inside the box, this time to nod home a ball from substitute Toni Kroos.

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