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“There Are Elements We Cannot Manage”: Barcelona Head Coach Xavi on Real Madrid Obtaining Advantageous Referee Decisions

<p>After a thrilling match in which Real Madrid stole three points from Almeria in the closing seconds, Almeria wasn’t the only team left feeling disappointed.</p>
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<p>Barcelona’s manager, Xavi Hernandez, also voiced his discontent with the league’s officials’ preference for Madrid and said that his team had lost six points so far this season as a result of calls that went against them.</p>
<p>“I previously said at Getafe that winning this league would be very difficult. Although some may not remember, I believe we might have scored six more points in this championship,” Xavi said.</p>
<p>“I recall Joao Felix’s goal in Granada, the penalty at the Coliseum, and the decisive penalty against Raphinha. These are 95-minute scenarios that always result in a cross; they are not justifications. Everyone has witnessed today that there are things beyond our control.</p>
<p>Real Madrid defeated Almeria 3-2, mounting a stunning comeback in the second half to stay in the thick of things in the fierce race for the top position in La Liga.</p>
<p>Almeria was left feeling let down not just by the defeat but also by the several contentious VAR decisions that went against them, most notably the penalty that gave Jude Bellingham the opportunity to spark Real Madrid’s comeback from a 1-2 deficit.</p>
<p>Gonzalo Melero of Almeria, who was furious, said that his club had been “robbed” of the three points they were due.</p>
<p>That much is evident. Melero yelled, “They could not have done more for [Madrid] to get back in the match.”</p>
<p>Understandably, however, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti does not seem to concur. Ancelotti feels that in the end, the officials made the correct decisions, even if Almeria had good reason to be frustrated.</p>
<p>“Almería’s ire at the choices makes sense, but in my opinion, they were all made correctly. I’ve seen them again. The referee seems to have them in the right. The choices are not being made by VAR. Referee decisions are made after VAR advice. Ancelotti said as much at a news conference after the game.</p>
<p>Though they have improved since coach Gaizka Garitano took over in October, Almeria is still in danger of dropping, having not won in their previous 21 games and being 10 points from safety.</p>
<p>Meanwhile, Real Madrid has a game remaining and is now one point behind Girona for the top place.</p>