The passing hours following Atlético’s 2-1 loss to Barcelona on Sunday have done little to diminish the Rojiblanco faithful’s disappointment, frustration and outright indignation with regard to referee Perez Lasa and crew’s controversial officiating performance at the Vicente Calderón.
The Spanish press helped fan the flames, with both MARCA and AS, in their Monday morning reports, pointing out the many mistakes committed by the referee and his linesmen.
This image, which shows Perez Lasa apparently giving Lionel Messi the signal that he should take his free kick – the one that ended up in the back of the net and served as the match winning goal – has been circulating social networking sites since minutes after the game, further fueling controversy.
Some, however, would argue that Perez Lasa was simply confirming that the Argentine striker was free to take the shot without having to wait for the whistle.
Whatever the case may be, the footage looked fishy to say the least.
With an ironic grin, Atleti coach Diego Simeone told reporters in the post-game press conference:
“We’re not going to argue if it’s a problem with the wall…if Busquets committed a penalty or if Alves should have been dismissed in the second half.
“The referee was perfect,” he concluded sarcastically.
Atlético midfielder Tiago was unsure if the correct call was made on Messi’s free kick, admitting that “in the end we lost because of a play in which we should have been more attentive.”
The former Juventus man added: “Some of my team-mates said the referee told them to back up. That’s why we ran towards the referee to protest, but he said he didn’t [tell them to back up].
“But I wasn’t there and I can’t tell you [what really happened].”
The 30-year-old did submit his own complaint though.
“There was a clear handball in the box on Juanfran’s shot, but it wasn’t called and we’re used to this because when we play against the big teams we always get a penalty called against us, but we have to carry on.”
Defender Miranda played it safe when he was asked to comment on the officiating.
“Sometimes the referee makes mistakes and sometimes gets things right, but we don’t have to talk about his performance,” the Brazilian said.
Striker Radamel Falcao appeared to have jumped into the fray via Twitter early Monday morning, however, according to AS reporter Dani Hidalgo, the club suspects the Colombian’s account may have been hacked.
The tweet in question reads as follows:
“I think the only person that didn’t see Busquet’s handball yesterday was the referee. Hmmm, could it be that he really didn’t see it?”
But perhaps the biggest injustice of the weekend involved another Colchonero, Diego Costa, currently shining while on loan at Rayo Vallecano.
The Brazilian forward was clearly elbowed in the face by Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos inside the penalty box. The violent clobbering was not seen by the referee that presided over Rayo’s 1-0 loss at home to Real.
It was certainly a dark day for the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), and we can only hope that Sunday’s injustices, which tended to favour the league’s two giants, will result in a call to action that something must be done to improve the current state of the much-maligned officiating of La Liga.
Unfortunately, that will likely not be the case and we’ll be forced to swallow this bitter pill.
The week ahead
The squad returned to practice Monday in preparation for our upcoming clash at Sevilla but, as Atlético’s official site reports, without the presence of nine internationals.
Adrián, Koke and Domínguez, all called up to Spain’s pre-Olympic team, will take on Egypt in a friendly on Tuesday to be played in the Cantabrian city of Torrelavega.
The remaining internationals will participate in friendly FIFA action on Wednesday.
Courtois’ Belgium will face off against Greece, Salvio’s Argentina will play Switzerland, Godín’s Uruguay play Romania in Bucharest, Falcao and Perea’s Colombia take on Mexico in Miami and Arda Turan’s Turkey will square off against Slovakia.
Falcao and Godín suspended for Sevilla trip
Falcao and Godín each saw their fifth yellow card in our defeat to Barça and will have to serve their one match ban against Sevilla.
This means Salvio and Domínguez are likely in line for a start at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, though ‘El Cholo’ could choose to go with Sílvio or Perea at right back and deploy Juanfran in his natural position as a right winger.