Barca president Laporta 'ashamed' as Eintracht fans pack Camp Nou
Madrid, April 16 (IANS) FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta admitted that he felt "embarrassed and ashamed" after up to 30,000 fans of Eintracht Frankfurt were in the stands to watch their side knock Barcelona out of the quarterfinals of the Europa League on Thursday night.
Despite Eintracht only being allocated 5,000 tickets for the game, many more supporters travelled to Barcelona and were able to buy tickets, resulting in making up over a third of the official attendance of 79,400.
The German supporters turned the atmosphere in the Camp Nou into a celebration as Eintracht stunned Barca by going 3-0 ahead and holding on for a 3-2 win that saw them into the semifinals 4-3 on aggregate. Laporte admitted late on Friday that what he had witnessed was painful to watch.
"What happened makes me feel embarrassed and ashamed. There were a lot of fans of the other team and not many of ours. I'm very sorry for what has happened," he said in declarations on Barca TV, Xinhua reports. "We have to be much stricter. We can't allow these situations to happen (again)," he added.
Meanwhile, Barca coach Xavi Hernandez admitted the atmosphere didn't help his players.
"I tried to tell the players that the important thing is what happens on the pitch, but logically this could have affected us; it's very clear," he stated. However, the coach admitted that although the atmosphere hadn't helped his side, "on the pitch, we haven't been good, and we haven't competed."
Things got even worse for Barca with key midfielder, 19-year-old Pedri Gonzalez, being replaced at half-time with a hamstring injury. Barcelona look likely to be without the Spain international for the rest of the season.
Pedri left the field at half-time complaining of a problem in his left hamstring and was replaced by Frenkie de Jong. Early indications were that he had suffered a torn hamstring and those fears have now been confirmed.
"Tests on Friday have revealed that Pedri has ruptured the femoral biceps in his left hamstring. It means he will be unavailable for selection until he recovers from the injury," confirmed the Barca website.
With the season finishing on May 22, it seems unlikely Pedri can recover from such an injury in time to play again in this campaign, especially as he has been hampered by muscle problems since early September.
Pedri, who played an intense 2020-21 season of 73 matches, including the European Championships and the Olympic Games, only had a short summer break. He suffered a thigh injury playing Bayern Munich in the Champions League on September 14 and didn't reappear until January, when his comeback was also delayed by Covid-19.
Pedri's return has coincided with Barca's improved performances under Xavi Hernandez, but Xavi will now have to go ahead without him as his side look to keep their slim title hopes alive.