La Liga referee given a break
BARCELONA – La Liga referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez has not been allocated a game next weekend by the Spanish football federation following his officiating of the fixture between Real Betis and Barcelona on Sunday in which he angered both teams.
The Spanish champions won 3-2 at the Benito Villamarin in a thrilling match the official seemed to lose control of, sending off Clement Lenglet and Nabil Fekir but not dismissing Sergi Roberto or awarding Lionel Messi a penalty.
Fekir was sent off for two bookings in the space of a few seconds, one for a foul and the other for dissent. Lenglet followed but Betis were angry that Sergi Roberto, who had already been booked, was let off after scything down Carles Alena.
“How can that not be a second yellow for Sergi Roberto’s foul on Alena?” asked Betis coach Rubi. “Barcelona should have been left with 10 men, there’s no doubt about it.”
Real Betis’s vice-president Jose Miguel Lopez Catalan also criticised the officials after the game. “We are indignant and angry because once again refereeing has hurt Betis and it has not been fair,” he said.
Barcelona had complaints too, with Messi pulled back in the area at the end but Sanchez Martinez did not point to the spot.
“In the end we could have won by more goals, if you look at the penalty they didn’t give Messi,” said Barca midfielder Frenkie de Jong. “It was clear, they pushed him over.” (Reuters)