Defeated Barcelona rage over ‘favoritism’
MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Real’s Ronaldo (R) and Barcelona’s Messi (L) gesture during a La Liga match. AP photoBarcelona defender Gerard Pique has claimed that Real Madrid tend to get the big decisions from referees after his side were denied a last minute penalty in their 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid. Sergio Ramos’ header nine minutes from time proved to be the winner after Karim Benzema and Lionel Messi had exchanged goals in the first-half. But Pique and his teammates were left aggrieved after Ramos appeared to fell Adriano inside the box with Barca keeper Victor Valdes even receiving a red card for his protests after the final whistle had been blown.
“We said to the referee that it seemed clear to us, but we already know how these things go. Against Real Madrid, if the game is close, just by chance things tend to go in their favor,” said Pique.
“We are left with the feeling that a draw would have been a fair result if we had been given the penalty, but we cannot make this excuse because this team has too much quality to depend on refereeing decisions to win games.”
The defeat was Barca’s third defeat in four games and Pique admits they are struggling to find their best form. On the other hand victory came as even more of a welcome surprise for the hosts after manager Jose Mourinho made seven changes to the side that had beaten Barca 3-1 in the Copa del Rey on Feb. 27 with star-man Cristiano Ronaldo starting only on the bench.
Without their talisman they made the perfect start as Benzema tapped home Alvaro Morata’s cross before Messi brought Barca level with a trademark left-footed finish 12 minutes later. Ronaldo’s introduction after the break though sparked the game into life and after Valdes had produced fine saves to beat away the Portuguese’s free-kick and deny Morata when he was clean through, Ramos left the Barca keeper helpless as he rose highest to power home Luka Modric’s corner.
Turkish referee for Man U - Real game
Madrid’s victory keeps their very slim hopes of retaining their title alive as it cuts Barça’s lead over the champions to 13 points, but as Mourinho’s team selection indicated of more immediate importance is make or break Champions League tie with Manchester United on March 5 with the tie level at 1-1. And Ramos believes that victories against Barça is the perfect way to prepare for their trip to Old Trafford. The UEFA has picked Turkish referee Cüney Çakır for the Man U - Real game.