La Liga leaders Real Madrid beat Celta Vigo 2-1 to record another victory on Saturday. However, it was not without controversy. Celta vice-captain Iago Aspas was less than impressed with the refereeing in the fixture.
The mercurial Karim Benzema put Real ahead from the penalty spot around the 20-minute mark, following a foul on Eder Militao.
Hosts Celta Vigo thought they had an equaliser through a Thiago Galhardo header. Unfortunately, the effort was disallowed. The offside Iago Aspas apparently blocked Real defender David Alaba from potentially making a goal-line clearance.
The disallowed goal spurred on Celta Vigo, who started the second half impressively. Former Manchester City forward Nolito made the game 1-1 after some excellent build-up play. However, just after the hour mark, the game ran into some controversy.
The referee awarded the visitors a second penalty after Jeison Murillo tripped Real substitute Rodrygo. Goalkeeper Matias Dituro saved Benzema’s second penalty of the game to keep the score level.
Just minutes later, Real Madrid had yet another penalty – the most debatable of the lot. Los Blancos’ French talisman made no mistake from the spot this time, and the Spanish giants held on to escape with a 2-1 victory.
Real Madrid on their way to the title
Real’s win puts them 12 points clear of second-placed Barcelona. Meanwhile, the runner-up spot is a three-way tie between Barca, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. Carlo Ancelotti‘s side look set to win yet another La Liga crown, their 35th overall and second in three seasons.
As a result of the loss, Celta Vigo are stuck in midtable. They sit eleventh, 12 points behind the European places.
However, they should not worry about falling into a relegation battle. Celta are 10 points clear of the relegation zone, with a far superior goal difference. Therefore, they should be able to see out their season without too much stress.
Despite this, the referee’s decisions in the Real Madrid game still infuriated vice-captain Iago Aspas.
Iago Aspas accuses referee
Speaking in a post-match interview, the former Liverpool forward did not hide his frustration.
“I think the first two were ‘penaltitos’ (little penalties), but the last one wasn’t, from my point of view,” he said.
Aspas then fired a bold shot at referee Pablo Gonzales Fuertes. He suggested that Fuertes was officiating for a Benzema hat-trick (quote from The Mirror).
“He [Fuertes] only needed the whistle for the fourth penalty to take himself. It seems like a Benzema hattrick is what he wanted and what he looked for.”
These comments will likely result in a heavy fine for the Spaniard.
La Liga does not respond lightly to criticism of its officials. For example, back in 2017, the league fined Gerard Pique 3000 Euros after the Barcelona defender criticized the refereeing in Spanish football.
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