June 20, 2021

SportsOnly

Football and other sports news

Zidane dismisses Koeman’s Clasico ref row

2 min read

Zinedine Zidane rejected Ronald Koeman’s complaints about the officials after Real Madrid beat bitter rivals Barcelona 2-1 to go top of La Liga.

Madrid were in scintillating form before half-time, with Karim Benzema’s ingenious opener followed by a deflected free-kick from Toni Kroos.

Federico Valverde hit the post as Madrid threatened to run riot but, after Lionel Messi tested the upright directly from a corner, Barca improved and Oscar Mingueza reduced the arrears with an hour played.

Referee Jesus Gil Manzano and his colleagues drew Koeman’s ire during a frantic finale, first when Martin Braithwaite had a penalty appeal rejected and his tangle with Ferland Mendy was not examined on the pitch-side monitor.

Also, amid torrential rain, Gil Manzano had to change his radio set and Koeman did not feel adequate stoppage time was added as a result.

“If you’re a Barca fan or a Barca player, you’re very unhappy with the result because I think there were two clear decisions that the referee didn’t make that would have changed the game,” Koeman told LaLiga TV.

“I think we weren’t good at all in the first 45. We weren’t good in attack and we weren’t good in defence.

“In the second half we improved but I only ask for a bit better when making key decisions because they are decisions that could have cost us the game and eventually they did.

“I think the added time as well was four minutes and it should have been added on.

“He only added two minutes because of the issue with his microphone and there were quite a few more stoppages, also with the possible penalty towards the end. Once again, we have to accept it and shut up.”

Nevertheless, Zidane preferred to focus on the performance of his players.

“As always, it’s an interpretation of everyone. Everyone has their own opinion whether it’s a penalty or not,” he told La Liga TV.

“Of course, the stoppage time, that’s a different case completely. Whether it’s four, five or six, it’s the referee that makes the decision.

“I don’t have much more to say in that regard.

“It’s an important victory for us and we did our job. We had more than enough chances to kill off the game a lot earlier.

“Barcelona are a very good side and we still managed to play our own game and were in the lead for the entirety, basically.

“We can be very happy with that. But I’m not going to go into any other details in the game.

“We can’t just talk about the referees. We played our own game and it’s a very important victory for us.”

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