Atletico Madrid captain Gabi revealed that he did handle the ball in his side's 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final clash, but admitted that he was unsure if the Catalan giants should have been handed a penalty or not.
The incident took place in the final moments of the match as a goal for Barcelona would have levelled the score on aggregate. The first leg at Camp Nou ended in 2-1 victory for Luis Enrique's side and prior to the incident, Antoine Griezmann brace had put Atletico in a firm position to make it to the semi-final.
Barcelona were awared a free kick as a result of Gabi's handball just outside the box. Lionel Messi, who had an opportunity to help Barcelona level the aggregate score failed to convert as the match ended in a 2-0 victory for Diego Simeone's side at Vicente Calderón.
"Yes, it was a handball. I was on the line and it hit my hand. The referee gave a free kick outside the area, I don't know if the hand was inside or not. Sometimes decisions go your way and sometimes they don't. If it was in, it was in. But we can't get caught up in that one moment, we deserved to win," Gabi said, as reported by the Spanish publication AS.
Atletico now join local rivals Real Madrid, German champions Bayern Munich and Premier League outfit Manchester City to make it to the semi-final of the 2015/16 season's Champions League. Gabi expressed his delight with his teammates effort to help Atletico make it to the final four and admitted that it is too early for his side to decide whether they can win the competition this term.
"I think the team put in a huge amount of effort. We defended well and we attacked well on the counter, we created chances and hit the bar. We're going through on merit," he explained.
"It's too early to say, we're in the semifinals, not the final. We have to carry on working and wait for the draw. Whoever we get will be a tricky opponent, for sure."