Spanish Primera Liga

Toure looks to the future following Barca draw

March 7, 2010

Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure was quick to switch his attention to next week's testing clash with third-placed Valencia after seeing his side drop two points at 13th-placed Almeria.

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The reigning champions were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos after twice trailing and also playing with a man less for the final half-hour following Zlatan Ibrahimovic's dismissal.

That draw was a setback for Barca, who subsequently lost top spot to arch rivals Real Madrid following their 3-2 win over Sevilla late on Saturday night, but Toure was keen not to dwell on it.

"It was a very difficult game, above all due to the good performance of our opponents. Now we need to work hard and prepare for next Sunday's game against Valencia, which is also very important," the powerhouse midfielder said.

"The draw isn't so bad, especially after the sending-off."

The match was blighted by some bizarre refereeing decisions from Carlos Clos Gomez. The referee delayed the start of the match for almost a quarter of an hour as he was unhappy with Almeria's shirts, which showed a message of support for Chile following the recent earthquake and tsunami.

The official then harshly sent off Barca coach Pep Guardiola and Ibrahimovic, and incorrectly awarded a free-kick to the Catalan giants which led to their first equaliser.

Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes said about the controversies: "I don't know what happened with the sendings-off, I didn't see them. I don't understand the problem with the shirts, especially if it is a message of solidarity."

Regarding the match, Valdes added: "We tried to fight until the end but it wasn't to be. It's a shame. These are important points which have slipped away, and it's important not to let too many escape due to how close the top two are."