Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Xavi labels Ancelotti’s comments a “joke” as debate rages over VAR in El Clasico game

Xavi Hernandez claims that any discussion of VAR after Barcelona’s 2-1 win over arch enemies Real Madrid is a “joke.”

The Barca manager’s comments come after rival manager Carlo Ancelotti said that he’s in “doubt” over the debated decision rule out a possible late winner for his team during Sunday’s El Clasico which was billed as a LaLiga title decider.

Ancelotti thought they’d beaten Barcelona when Asensio netted a goal against the run of play at the Camp Nou in the dying embers of the game.

After a check for offside, Asensio was deemed to have been offside and replays appeared to show that he was marginally ahead of Barca’s Jules Kounde when Carvajal crossed the ball in.

Soon after, the hosts scored a 92nd-minute winner of their own through Franck Kessie and this time it counted, putting Barcelona 12 points ahead of their rivals with as many games to go.

Real Madrid had taken an early lead when Vinicius Junior’s cross was deflected in via Araujo’s torso, only for Sergi Roberto to equalise just before the break and leave an open contest in the balance in the second period.

For a moment towards the end, it looked as if Asensio’s goal had cut the gap at the top of the table to six points, only for VAR to rule it offside and break their hearts.

Ancelotti, though, isn’t convinced that it was the right decision. “We did not win because of an offside that we’re still doubtful about,” he told reporters. “It was not so sure. We have doubts about it, and we go back to Madrid with this doubt.”

Then came Xavi’s turn to face the media, he conceded that he was “surprised” by Ancelotti’s comments before saying: “It’s a scientific question. It is clearly offside and there is no doubt. If people are talking about the VAR today, it’s a joke. The offside is very clear.”

“We have only won the Super Cup [this season], but I have the feeling that this league, only we can lose it,” the Spaniard said, as Barca close in on a first Spanish crown since 2019.

“You saw at the end of the game, there was a lot of joy, satisfaction, we can’t forget where we came from.”

Speaking on his side’s 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture away from home, Xavi added: “In October after the Bernabeu, we were three points behind, we’ve gained 15 points on Madrid. That says something about our campaign.”

As for Real Madrid, Ancelotti says they’ll continue fighting until the end for the league title.

“We are going to fight for all competitions, to the maximum,” he vowed. “We have to try to play like this again. If we play like this we will win something, for sure.”

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