Barcelona boss Xavi evokes Liverpool rant after Real Madrid VAR controversy

Real Madrid moved to within a point of La Liga leaders Girona after coming from behind to beat Almeria in controversial circumstances – and it’s safe to say Xavi was not pleased

Xavi Hernandez has fired criticism at La Liga officials(Getty Images)

Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez has taken another swipe at the officiating in La Liga after Real Madrid benefited from three VAR calls during their 3-2 comeback win over Almeria.

Los Blancos were 2-0 down at the break against the division’s bottom side at the Bernabeu, courtesy of goals from Largie Ramazani and Edgar Gonzalez. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were handed a route back into the match when they were controversially awarded a penalty for a handball by Kaiky Fernandes.

Jude Bellingham slotted home from the spot to half the deficit before Almeria thought they had restored their two-goal advantage in the 61st minute. Sergio Arribas finished off a fast counter-attacking move to spark delirium among the Almeria players and coaching staff. However, following a VAR review, referee Francisco Jose Hernandez Maeso felt there was a foul on Bellingham in the build-up and the goal was chalked off.

Moments later, Real levelled, and once again it came in controversial circumstances after Vinicius Jr appeared to fire home. Hernandez Maeso initially awarded a free-kick for Almeria, but after another VAR review, the referee overruled his initial decision and gave Real the goal.

The pendulum then swung in Real’s favour and it seemed only a matter of time before they grabbed the winner. It took until the 99th minute for that to happen as Los Blancos snatched all three points, with Dani Carvajal striking a cruel blow to Almeria, who have still failed to win in La Liga this season.

Speaking after his side’s 4-2 win over Real Betis, Xavi commented on the refereeing in Madrid as the La Liga title race takes another turn. “I’m left with the reflections of Garitano (the Almeria coach) and Alfredo Relano, a very good journalist,” Xavi said, via Mundo Deportivo.

VAR controversies were at the heart of Real Madrid’s win over Almeria(Getty Images)

“It’s going to be very difficult to win this league. I already said that in Getafe. I saw things that did not fit right for me. There have been many incidents. I remember the Getafe penalty, the incident with Raphinha in Vallecas and the goal in Granada by Joao Felix. We could have six more points. These are not excuses, they are realities.”

Meanwhile, Ancelotti defended Hernandez Maeso and admitted he got each call correct after his Real side closed the gap on La Liga leaders Girona to one point at the top. “I understand Almería’s anger with the VAR decisions, but I think they were all well decided,” he said, via Marca. “I’ve seen them. I think the referee made the right decision, not VAR. VAR warned him and he decided. And I think he was right.”

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