The first of this seasons meeting between Spain’s two biggest clubs saw Barcelona beat Real Madrid at the Nou camp by a score of 2-1 thanks to goals from Neymar and Alexis Sanchez with los Blancos getting a late conciliation goal from substitute Jesse.
Real Madrid Italian trainer Carlo Ancelotti felt that his team were robbed by the referee when with 19 minutes to go in the match Barcelona were only winning by a solitary goal that the challenge from Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano on Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo should have resulted in a penalty.
The Portuguese striker tumbled to the ground following the tackle from the Argentinian defender only to see referee Undiano Mallenco wave play on much to the disgust of Ancelotti and the rest of the players on the Madrid bench.
When speaking at a press conference after the match Ancelotti said: “Naturally the penalty was very clear for me. I think everyone saw it, the only person that didn’t see it was the referee.”
The Real Madrid players also thought they should have been awarded a penalty just before half time when Barcelona’s left-back handled the ball in the area.
Before the hand ball incident the Brazilian had already been booked, and should the referee have awarded the penalty it would also have meant a red card for the Barcelona player.
Trainer Ancelotti was less adamant about the alleged handball saying: “It’s a difficult decision, but it was at an important moment and if the penalty had been given, it may have been another yellow card too.”
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos who was playing in midfield for the match was much more critical of the referee telling the press: “The team fought toe to toe against a very difficult team, and by the end we had them on the ropes, it’s rare that you see Barcelona trying to waste time at the end of a game.
“But there were two clear penalties and, although I don’t like to try and justify defeats by talking about referees, there are some things you cannot fight against.”
Coach Ancelotti defended his decision to play three players in the middle of the pitch, and only moved Ramos up following midfielder Asier Illarramendi suffering a muscle strain against Juventus during their Champions League match midweek.
“I played Ramos there to look for balance in the middle of the park, I asked him about it before and he said he wanted to play there, so I put him in.”
He later added: “I didn’t play defensively, Modric isn’t a defensive midfielder, and Marcelo, (Dani) Carvajal and Cristiano and (Angel) Di Maria are attackers. Barca did not play with any more attackers than we did.”
This was of course the Italian’s first taste of Spain’s biggest match, and when asked about what he thought Ancelotti said: “It’s a fantastic game and atmosphere. I think it was a good game, we showed we can play well against a fantastic team. Of course you want to win this kind of game but at the moment we are improving and this game proves that.”
It seems that so many of these high-tension matches are ruined by poor refereeing decisions more often than not going in favour of the home side.
Real Madrid will now hope to reverse the fortunes when the two sides next meet in Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu on March 23rd 2014.
The win for Barcelona means that the Catalans are now six points clear of Real Madrid on top of La Liga after having played ten games.