Real Madrid unhappy with refereeing decisions “favouring” Clásico rivals Barcelona – AS USA

LaLiga EA Sports 2023-24 is only four matchdays old and El Clásico rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona are already at odds with one another. La Blaugrana have already compiled a list of refereeing decisions which they feel have gone against them, as well as another containing calls they claim have favoured Los Blancos. At the Santiago Bernabéu, however, they believe it is Barça who have benefitted from errors made by match officials, which have allowed Xavi Hernández’s side to stay within touching distance at the top of the table (Madrid have 12 points to the Catalans’ 10).
And Los Merengues have some grievances of their own, most recently in Saturday’s last-gasp home victory over Getafe. Midway through the first half, referee Mario Melero López pointed to the penalty spot after Carlos Aleñá had clipped Jude Bellingham in the box. VAR intervened and the match official overturned his decision, but Madrid can’t understand why a later incident in the box involving the England midfielder and Djené wasn’t checked, believing the Togolese defender had committed a foul. “If that had been given, Getafe couldn’t have complained”, claimed retired referee Eduardo Iturralde González after the game.
Bellingham, of course, did play a deciding role in the outcome of the match in any case, netting an injury-time winner, his fifth goal in four LaLiga appearances.
As far as Barcelona are concerned, Real Madrid are adamant their arch-rivals have received favourable treatment from referees in two different games already this season.
First of all, in the LaLiga champions’ matchday three fixture away to Villarreal, Alexander Sorloth’s goal in the fourth minute, which would have opened the scoring, was disallowed for offside by VAR. The positioning of the offside lines drawn has been called into question, as well as the fact that Villarreal’s Étienne Capoué, who was ruled offside, didn’t actually touch the ball before it reached Sorloth. According to Iturralde, the Frenchman “wasn’t interfering with play”. Barça won a seven-goal thriller 4-3.
Then came Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Osasuna, in which defender Jules Koundé headed in the opener. Pictures suggest the Frenchman had climbed on an opposition player to get extra leverage, which Rojillos coach Jagoba Arrasate vehemently protested about after the goal was awarded.
The Pamplona side were, however, also deeply unhappy with two other refereeing decisions. Firstly, Barça midfielder Oriol Romeu appeared to catch to Pablo Ibáñez with his elbow in the penalty area, with no spot-kick awarded. At the other end, meanwhile, Robert Lewandowski did win a game-deciding penalty, with referee Miguel Ángel Ortíz Arías opting to send off Alejandro Catena after a VAR check.
The match official’s reason for showing a red card to the Osasuna defender was due to him “holding back his opponent”, who was bearing down on goal. The footage shows that contact was minimal, with Catena at no point managing to “hold” Lewandowski.
The Barcelona striker, meanwhile, was booked in the first half having previously escaped punishment for hitting Rubén García in the face. Just after the hour mark, the Pole then trod on Iker Muñoz and could quite easily have been shown a second yellow card.
Real Madrid have been highlighting these incidents on their in-house television channel in the last few hours, with the club also fuming after new developments in the Negreira refereeing scandal.
An investigation carried out by the Spanish Civil Guard reached the conclusion that match officiating “had not been impartial” in the near 20-year-spell during which evidence shows José María Enríquez Negreira, the former vice president of Spain’s referees committee, received payments from Barcelona.
The results of the investigation have added further fuel to the fire, with Real Madrid stunned that their LaLiga rivals now have their own refereeing complaints.
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