Barca draw at title rivals Valencia after goal-line controversy

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Nov 2017 10:38:25



BARCELONA’S Jordi Alba haunted his former club Valencia with a stunning late equaliser in a 1-1 draw in a top-of-the-table Liga clash that preserved the Catalan side’s four-point lead but was overshadowed by a ‘goal’ that was not given.
Barca were denied the opener as Lionel Messi’s tame shot after half an hour was spilt by goalkeeper Neto and bounced over the line before the Brazilian dragged it back over but referee Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva allowed play to continue.
The Argentine forward and his team mates remonstrated with the officials to no avail but still had a big say in the game, laying on a perfect pass for Alba’s 82nd minute leveller.

Spain striker Rodrigo Moreno put Valencia ahead on the hour, sneaking ahead of Barca defender Thomas Vermaelen to score from close range before putting on an orange wig in tribute to the club’s late president Jaume Orti who passed away on Friday.
Barcelona lead the standings on 35 points, Valencia have 31 while Atletico Madrid are third on 27, level on points with fourth-placed champions Real Madrid.

“It was a good game and it was defined by a controversial play but we know Valencia’s potential. We’re not satisfied with everything but we’ve managed to take something positive from the game,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Valencia assistant coach Ruben Urria added: “We struggled at first because Barcelona are a great team and came here to win against the second best team in the league.
“Everything changed in the second half and we were the better team. These players are making history.”
Before kick off, Valencia paid tribute to Orti, president during the club’s last two Liga title-winning seasons in 2002 and 2004, and an electric atmosphere gripped The Mestalla

Messi’s ‘ghost goal’ steals Spanish headlines


JORDI Alba’s late strike rescued Barcelona a point in a 1-1 draw with Valencia on Sunday which kept things as they were in the Spanish title race, but a Lionel Messi “goal” which wasn’t given dominated the headlines.
The Argentine forward’s shot in the 30th minute was fumbled by Neto and the ball crossed the line before the Valencia goalkeeper hooked it back and the game continued.

Referee Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva and his assistants did not award the goal and Valencia played on while Barcelona players celebrated the goal which would have put them 1-0 up.
“Scandal,” read the front page of Mundo Deportivo on Monday, while Sport said it was “a refereeing robbery”.
La Liga is the only one of the big five European leagues that does not yet use either video or goalline technology to help get the key decisions right. Madrid’s newspapers Marca and AS both acknowledged the controversy and that the result means the race for La Liga is still on.

The draw leaves Barcelona four points clear of Valencia and eight ahead of both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
Marca journalist Diego Pico wrote: “A huge mistake from the refereeing team which unleashes an old controversy. Technology is more than necessary, especially for goals like this which aren’t even ‘ghost goals’.”
La Liga president Javier Tebas said earlier in November that the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system would be introduced next season.
“Next season there will be VAR in La Liga, without a doubt,” Tebas told a news conference.

“We are making lots of progress in meetings about it right now and it will be ready very soon.”
However that is too late for Barcelona, who suffered an identical problem earlier this year, in a 1-1 draw with Real Betis in January.
On that occasion, Jordi Alba’s shot crossed the line as Betis defender Aissa Mandi tried to clear it but referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez did not award it.

Barcelona finished three points behind Real Madrid in the 2016-17 season and that goal could have affected the outcome of the title race.
“There will be a lot of things that VAR can’t clear up, but I hope that they can help with things likes today,” Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets said.
“It’s an evolution which we need. It’s something we need.”