Barcelona president Joan Laporta says the standard of officiating in Real Madrid’s 3-2 defeat of Almeria was a ‘disgrace’.
In Sunday’s highly contentious La Liga clash at the Bernabeu, hosts Madrid benefitted from three calls being overturned by VAR in their favour as they came from two goals down to secure the victory over their bottom-of-the-table opponents.
A flurry of second-half goals from Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Junior and Dani Carvajal completed the stunning turnaround to keep Los Blancos within a point of surprise league leaders Girona.
Almeria manager Gaizka Garitano was apoplectic on the touchline as his side repeatedly had key decisions go against them and the Spaniard was shown a red card for his protestations towards the end of the match.
‘What happened at the Bernabeu was a disgrace,’ Barca president Laporta at the Mundo Deportivo Grand Gala as he gave his thoughts on Madrid’s controversial win.
‘I think that the refereeing collective has to respond to a series of pressures that have occurred throughout the season with the referees.
‘If they do not respond, they leave us very uneasy. Because we understand that there is an abandonment of functions.’
There remains a seven-point gap between third-placed Barcelona and bitter rivals Madrid and Laporta feels the Catalan giants have been badly let down by ‘VAR re-refereeing’ thought the campaign.
‘I’m happy because we won yesterday,’ he added.
‘We feel stronger and more cohesive, but what we want is for there to be sporting rewards and on a day that we could have cut points in the table.
‘However, due to a refereeing decision, due to a VAR re-refereeing, it has not happened.’
Laporte is ‘very optimistic’ over Barca’s chances of catching their title rivals given the ‘excellent quality’ Xavi has at his disposal in his squad.
‘It feels stronger and we have more unity in the dressing room, and we also see that we are recovering the injured players,’ Laporta went on.
‘Marc-Andre [ter Stegen] will soon be able to rejoin the squad. We have players of excellent quality like Robert [Lewandowski] and all those who make up the Barcelona first team.
‘I’m very optimistic because I think we’ll get our reward and that the other rivals are going to stumble like we stumbled at the beginning of the season.
‘What we are doing is working, fighting day by day, to stay in all the competitions to try and win them.’
Xavi’s comments on Madrid’s win reflected those of Barcelona’s president, with the former Spain midfielder condemning the ‘unbelievable’ refereeing on show in the capital.
‘It pains me to say it, but there’s no other way to take it. And that’s not the first this year. What happened today went beyond all limits, it was unbelievable,’ the Barca head coach said.
‘Nothing more could have been done for them to win the game.’
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