Xavi refuses to blame referee Lahoz after feisty Espanyol draw


Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz was in the spotlight during Barcelona’s draw with Espanyol, but Xavi refused to blame the official.

Xavi refused to blame referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz after Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Espanyol but acknowledged the feisty Catalan derby “totally got out of control.”

The Blaugrana were forced to settle for a point on their return to World Cup action despite a dominant display at Camp Nou, where Joselu’s penalty canceled out Marcos Alonso’s header.

The match descended into chaos as Lahoz, in charge of Argentina’s heated World Cup quarter-final clash with the Netherlands this month, dealt the cards prolifically during the frantic final exchanges.

Jordi Alba was dismissed for two bookable offenses on his 300th LaLiga appearance for Barca, while Vinicius Souza followed and Leandro Cabrera was lucky to stay on the pitch as he appeared to pressure Roberto Lewandowski.

But while Xavi, who was spoken to by Lahoz, was disappointed with the official’s performance, the head coach insisted Barca had themselves to blame for failing to turn their advantage into three points.

“Mateu is the referee who manages the matches and today got away from him,” Marca quoted him as saying. “Today the match went completely out of control.

“He is a referee who gives you the feeling that he dominates and controls the game. But that was not the case today. I don’t blame him. The draw is our fault. I have to look for my own, for what I can control.

“I can’t control the referee. I’ve said it many times. The referee would have to come out and speak and say what he saw and what the players told him. Jordi told me he didn’t tell him anything.” him.

“We created chances. From the 30th minute, we slacked off, the intensity. Maybe we didn’t attack that well. My feeling is that we should have won well. The penalty is an unfortunate move for us.

“We are angry with each other. There are times in football when you are better and you don’t win. The team created a lot of danger in the corners. It is a shame and we are angry.”

Barca are level on points with Real Madrid at the top of the table but have a better goal difference.

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