Thursday, April 18News That Matters

Barcelona president storms referee’s room in protest after El Clasico defeat

Barcelona president Joan Laporta stormed the referee’s dressing room after his side’s defeat to Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the campaign.

Goals from Karim Benzema, Valverde and Rodrygo were enough to secure the bragging rights for Los Blancos. Though Ferran Torres scored a late goal, Barca sunk to defeat to cap off a poor week that has also seen all but drop out of the Champions League.

But it appears that Laporta pointed the finger of blame for the defeat at referee José María Sánchez Martínez. That led to the Barca chief entering his dressing room after the game to question his decisions.

The match official has detailed in his official report what happened when Laporta confronted him. And it was revealed Laporta was “invited to leave” by the refereeing team.

“Once the match was over and the referee team was inside the locker room, the president of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta Estruch, accessed it, repeatedly requesting explanations about some situations in the match. Given these events, he was invited to leave the arbitration locker room, without further incident,” the report reads.

Also detailed in the report is the number of warnings handed out to both sides. Barca received two yellow cards to players and one to a coach over the course of the clash.

The first came in the 74th minute, when goalkeeper coach José Ramón de la Fuente was booked for protesting the referee’s decisions. Six minutes later, Gavi was cautioned for “recklessly knocking down an opponent while playing for the ball”.

The last booking came just before the end of the game when Franck Kessie was reprimanded for dissent. The defeat means that Barca lost their grip on top spot in La Liga, leaving Xavi furious with his side.

“The feeling is that we are in a negative dynamic. That we are trying. We have faith, self-respect. We are trying. Luckily, it’s three points. It was an opportunity to stay at the top and we’re leaving empty-handed,” he said.

“The feeling is very bad, I can’t be happy with almost anything. We had Real Madrid there. We know we’re not doing well. We were doing very well in La Liga. At the first transition, we got caught at 1-0. We are under construction. We need to improve a lot.

“We had our moments. Real Madrid are in the lead. We’re in a very negative dynamic that we have to change as soon as possible. In the second half they were very good. We lacked a lot of decisiveness.

“If we want to win this type of match, we have to change our mentality. We are not in a positive dynamic. In the end, we showed a lot of self-belief, but it’s not enough. We’re in a bad dynamic. I’m worried that we’re not attacking well. That we don’t take advantage of our moments. It’s not a great day.”

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