When questioned about the status of officiating in La Liga after his team’s 4-2 victory away to Real Betis on Sunday, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez did not mince words.
“I have seen it…”
“If we talk, we get sanctioned, but everyone saw it,” Xavi stated, alluding to Real Madrid’s difficult 3-2 comeback triumph against bottom dwellers Almeria. The match was characterised by dubious officiating decisions and the use of Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR).
Barcelona is now seven points behind second-placed Real Madrid and eight behind table-toppers Girona, who hammered Sevilla 5-1 on the same night, having played one more game than Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Xavi regrets the recent refereeing judgement against the Catalans, but prefers to concentrate on his team’s performance.
“I previously said at Getafe that there were certain aspects that did not add up for me in this league.
Everyone realised that there are certain things over which we have no control.
I recall the penalty at Getafe and Joao’s goal at Granada, although they are hardly mentioned.
“We’d already have six more points.”
Bangladesh captain Rabby, on the other hand, dismissed the animosity between the sides, saying they would play the game as if it were any other.
“We’ll play it like a regular game. Luck is constantly against us. Today, we need to speak about the team,” Xavi said.
The Spanish Football Federation released recordings of disputed rulings made during the game. Real was behind 2-0 until a 56th-minute penalty granted to Jude Bellingham for dubious handball after a long VAR examination.