Cape Town - Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has denied that Gerard Pique deliberately got a yellow card in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Arsenal in order to ensure his availability for a potential quarter-final.
The booking means that the centre-back will be suspended for the second leg of the tie against the Gunners, but his slate will be wiped clean ahead of the next round of the competition.
With the tie all but won thanks to Lionel Messi's brace at the Emirates Stadium, the Spaniard's late foul on Danny Welbeck raised suspicions that the booking was tactical and intentional.
"I don't know if you saw the incident, but it wasn't a deliberate card in the slightest," Enrique insisted.
"If you have seen the fault, you can see that he has to do that fault."
Arsenal travel to the Camp Nou on 16 March for the return leg of the tie, when they will have to overturn the two-goal aggregate deficit.