Iniesta defends Arda after clumsy foul costs Barca Clasico win

By Joe Wright 4 December 2016
Iniesta defends Arda after clumsy foul costs Barca Clasico win

Returning Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta refused to single out Arda Turan for Real Madrid's late equaliser in Saturday's Clasico at Camp Nou.

Substitute Arda's determination to win the ball back from Marcelo led to a clumsy late foul close to the left touchline, and Sergio Ramos powered in the resulting delivery from Luka Modric in the 90th minute to snatch a 1-1 draw for Zinedine Zidane's side.

Barca had led since the 53rd minute via Luis Suarez's header, and they spurned good chances to double their advantage through Neymar and Lionel Messi before Ramos rescued a point.

But Iniesta, who came on in the second half for his first appearance since sustaining a knee ligament injury in October, felt it was unfair to pin blame for the result on his Turkish team-mate.

"If it hadn't been a goal, we would have said that that foul caused them to lose more time," he told BeIn Sports when asked about the incident. "They are very dangerous in these situations and that proved to be the case.

"It's a shame, because we had chances to make it 2-0. The team did a good job after recent issues.

"It's a bad feeling, mostly because of the equalising goal, but beyond that I think that we deserved to win."

The draw keeps Madrid six points clear at the top of LaLiga and extends their unbeaten run to 33 matches in all competitions.

Yet despite Barca's disadvantage, Iniesta is refusing to concede an early defeat in the title race.

"We have to go game by game, just as we would if we were leading - they have to do the same," he said. "You have to take one game at a time in order to reach the final few months in the race in with a chance of every trophy. 

"It's a long race and the one who reaches the end as the best will be the winner."

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