Barcelona’s late win over Real Valladolid on Monday night was packed full of controversy.
Ousmane Dembele‘s last-gasp winner might prove to be worth a lot more than just three points for the Catalans as they continue to pile pressure onto Atletico Madrid in the title race, but a lot will be said about Santiago Jaime Latre‘s officiating on the night, especially if they go on to win the title.
His decisions were largely protested by Real Valladolid, and surely by Atletico and Real Madrid too,.
Lionel Messi was even picked up criticising the referee at half time, but it was the visitors who had more of a problem with his management of the game after the break.
A huge controversy arose in the 65th minute when the ball struck Jordi Alba on the hand. Real Valladolid wanted a penalty, but nothing was given.
“In my opinion, the referee is correct to not give a penalty,” refereeing expert Juan Andujar Oliver said on Radio MARCA. “The Azulgrana full-back has no intention and, as the referee explained to the Real Valladolid players, he didn’t have his hand up.”
That wasn’t all, though. Cameras showed Messi at half time and he said that Jaime Latre was looking to give him a yellow card, which would have seen him ruled out of El Clasico next weekend.
Then, Oscar Plano was quite harshly sent off in the second half, leaving Real Valladolid with 10 men. Ultimately, the 10 men couldn’t hold on.
Real Valladolid deserved to go ahead, particularly for their efforts in the opening 40 minutes.
They didn’t look like a side plagued by absences, of which they had 12, and they impressed at the Camp Nou, assured of their plan and ability.
They came close when they hit the crossbar.
There were some positive scenes ahead of kick off for Barcelona fans, as Messi posed with his family on the pitch at the Camp Nou to celebrate becoming the clubs all-time record appearance maker.
The sight of the whole family on the pitch gives hope that he’s going to stay on beyond this summer, when his contract will come to an end.
He could have turned down the proposal or posed alone on the pitch, but he brought his family along for the occasion.
Ronald Koeman opted for Frenkie de Jong at the back again, increasing the risk of picking up a yellow card that, like Messi, would have ruled him out against Real Madrid.
It almost happened, too, but in the second half he appeared to be avoiding certain tackles to not get booked, notably moving away from Sergi Guardiola in the 50th minute.