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Barcelona bemoan referee decisions in El Clasico

Barcelona bemoan referee decisions as Real Madrid survive late scare in El Clasico

April 10, 2021 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The visitors felt undone by two calls by the match referee as they suffered a defeat in Saturday nights Clasico.

For the umpteenth time in Spanish football history, El Clasico was not short of drama with Barcelona players and fans expressing their full frustration following the conclusion of Saturday's meeting wth Real Madrid. Los Blaugrana felt that they were denied legitimate claims to secure at least two spot-kicks before collapsing to a defeat in what could end up deciding the title-race.

Barca started off on a wrong foot after conceding a brilliant back-heel goal by Karim Benzema inside the 13th minutes. Despite dominating play for the most part of the first half, Ronald Koeman's side was pegged back once more with Toni Kroos scoring Real Madrid's second of the night after having his free-kick deflecting off Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba. 

Ahead of half-time, Lionel Messi almost scored with a direct corner-kick to restore hope for Barcelona but had his effort hitting the cross-bar. The first big moment that apparently went against the Argentine striker and his teammates ensued in the second half after Ferland Mendy appeared to have handled the ball in Real Madrid's penalty area. However, play continued after the Video Assistant Referee and match referee Gil Manzano decided against reviewing the incident.

Oscar Mingueza subsequently reduced the deficit to one for Barcelona in the 60th minute to set the tone for a potential comeback. However, that did not materialize although the Catalans were almost handed a golden opportunity to restore parity through a spot-kick. This time, an attack which broke down in the Real Madrid penalty area ended with Ferland Mendy seemingly fouling Martin Braithwaite. Nevertheless, no decision went in favor of the visitors with many arguing that the Frenchman did not get enough grip on the Danish attacker's shirt to take him to the ground as easy as he did. 

Meanwhile, a different narrative almost came to life in the end but was prevented by fine margins with Barca academy graduate IIaix Moriba rattling the top of the crossbar in the last action of stoppages. Prior to that, Real Madrid had their personnel reduced to 10 after Casemiro picked up two yellow cards in quick succession.

Dissatisfied with the turn of events, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique confronted the match referee at full-time and had to be dragged away by a Barca touchline delegate to avoid being sanctioned. His club's boss Ronald Koeman also did not hold back when giving his post-match remarks. Asked if his side lost because of the referee, he said:

"No, I'm not saying that. I also said that the first part the level of the team has not been good, we have left spaces. The penalty [referring to the tackle on Braithewaite]: the lineman has not seen from 10 meters away. The VAR is there to help in such situations.

"I'm just asking for the referee to make decisions right. It was a very clear penalty. I do not know why there is VAR in Spain. 

"In the second half, the team improved, and created many chances. We were very close to scoring the equaliser.

"The added time was only 4 minutes. 4 minutes of additional time, while the referee took 2 minutes to change his equipment..."

"Everyone feels bad because of the penalty call, this is not the football we want. Everyone thinks it's criminal. Once again we have to accept it and shut our mouths."

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