Neymar criticised for provoking Valencia supporters

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Valencia sporting director Suso Garcia Pitarch has criticised the behaviour of Neymar and blamed the Barcelona forward for provoking his club’s fans in Sunday’s game at the Mestalla.

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During Barca’s 3-2 La Liga win, Neymar was hit by a water bottle thrown from the stands by a 17-year-old Valencia supporter, who has since apologised for his actions that were, he said, led by the Brazilian’s provocations and insults directed at the Curva Nord stand.

Pitarch said of the incident to Superdeporte: “All violent acts are condemnable. It’s as condemnable to throw a bottle, which is something that should never be done and which the club will take the appropriate measures, just as Neymar provoking our fans, who after having to withstand deplorable officiating, then suffered a penalty in the last minute. We also have to evaluate the behaviour of certain Barcelona players, especially that of Neymar.”

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The incident occurred soon after Lionel Messi celebrated his injury-time winner in front of Valencia’s Curva Nord stand, where the ultras sit, with Neymar’s actions after the goal enraging home fans.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has since said that Barcelona players provoked Valencia supporters during the encounter.

Pitarch also had harsh words for Barca after the Catalan club accused Valencia midfielder Enzo Perez of using excessive force.

During Saturday’s game, the Argentine tackled Andres Iniesta from behind and the challenge resulted in the Barca captain suffering a knee injury, which has ruled him out for six to eight weeks.

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“Perez makes a challenge in which he touches the ball, the referee doesn’t even give a foul and the ball goes out of bounds,” Pitarch said. “These are things that happen in football. Perez has always had an exemplary attitude. He doesn’t have a history of being that [a dirty player]. It’s pitiful that an institution as important as them [Barcelona] point the finger at a player. This is not right.”

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