• Latest News

    Monday, January 22, 2024

    VAR Controversy Reverberates in Spain Long after Real Madrid’s Late Win Over Last-Place Almeria

    The controversial VAR decisions that went Real Madrid’s way this weekend reverberated long after the Spanish powerhouse escaped an embarrassing setback against the worst team in the Spanish league.

    Madrid benefitted from three second-half video reviews and then scored deep into stoppage time to erase a two-goal deficit and beat last-place Almeria 3-2 at home on Sunday, avoiding dropping points and damaging its title chances.

    The overturned calls were close ones that were open to interpretation, including two handball incidents, but by the time the third VAR decision benefitted the Spanish giant in detriment of its underdog opponent, the game had already become one of the most discussed in Spanish soccer in recent years.

    “Someone decided that we couldn’t win here,” Almeria defender Marc Pubill said.

    “The feeling is that the game was taken away from us,” added defender Gonzalo Melero.

    Coach Gaizka Garitano didn’t “have the words to summarize what happened.” He said he didn’t want to say much to avoid being sanctioned.

    The complaints went beyond those by Almeria — the Saudi-owned club that missed a chance to end its 21-game winless streak in the Spanish league.

    “Robbery,” read a front-page headline by the Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo sports daily on Monday. “Referees gift Madrid the victory.”

    Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández said “everyone saw what happened” at the Bernabeu.

    “I had already said it, it’s going to be very difficult to win this league,” Xavi said after Barcelona’s 4-2 win at Real Betis later Sunday. “There are things that are not making sense to me.”

    The rivalry between Barcelona and Madrid often spills into refereeing controversies, with both teams accusing the other of being favored by officials. Barcelona last year was formally accused of making payments of millions of euros over several years to a company that belonged to the vice president of Spain’s football refereeing committee.

    Commentators on Real Madrid’s television channel said justice was done on Sunday, and that the VAR decisions were all correct. Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said after the game that he understood why Almeria was upset but felt that all calls were the right ones.

    Madrid was losing 2-0 in the second half when the VAR decisions started going its way. It was awarded a penalty kick for a handball inside the area that made it 2-1, saw an Almeria goal that would have made it 3-1 get disallowed for a foul in the buildup, and got the 2-2 equalizer after a goal by Vinícius Júnior was initially disallowed for a handball that the video referee then said came off his shoulder.

    The Spanish league released the audio clips of the VAR’s discussions — something it began doing after every game this year — but Almeria complained that the referee was not shown the most appropriate image angles. It also said a possible foul on one of its players was not properly analyzed during one of the reviews.

    Former referee Alfonso Pérez Burrull told sports daily Marca that the three VAR decisions were “borderline actions and with a lot of interpretation, enough in my opinion for the referee not to overturn his initial decisions.”

    The discussions surrounding the calls will likely continue for some time in Spain even though the final result won’t change — Madrid will continue to fight for the title, and Almeria will remain without its first victory.

    “Don’t expect us to publish the match report this time,” Almeria said on one of its social media channels. “What happened is all very clear.” AP

    • Blogger Comments
    • Facebook Comments


    Item Reviewed: VAR Controversy Reverberates in Spain Long after Real Madrid’s Late Win Over Last-Place Almeria Rating: 5 Reviewed By: BrandIconImage
    Scroll to Top