What’s the story?
Spanish referee Alejandro Hernandez has apologized to Barcelona for failing to award them a goal in their controversial 1-1 draw away to Real Betis in January, a result which potentially cost the Camp Nou outfit the La Liga title.
During the game, a cross from the right by full-back Aleix Vidal, took a wicked deflection and comfortably crossed the goal line before being hooked away by Aissa Mendi. However, Hernandez or his assistants failed to spot it and the Spaniard deemed that the ball never crossed the line, thereby not awarding the goal to Barcelona. The Catalan giants did equalise in the last minute of the game through Luis Suarez but were left visibly frustrated by the decision of Hernandez.
Speaking in an interview on TV show ‘Arbitration from Within’, Hernandez was quoted by Mirror as saying: “When you make a decision and see the images you are very touched, because your professional prestige as a referee is at stake. It was a very clear decision but with three people in front of me, I could not see (what was happening).
“I understand the anger of a lot of people, but it was impossible for me to see it. It happened very quickly and my assistant could not see it and I could not help him. It leaves you with an unpleasant taste in the mouth and is a mistake that stays with you, because every time you have a challenge ahead of you, this will come to light.”
In case you didn’t know…
Real Madrid clinched their first La Liga title since 2011-12 by beating arch-rivals Barcelona to it. The Catalan giants finished just 3 points behind the Santiago Bernabeu outfit and missed out on winning their third consecutive league title. The title race might have unfolded differently had the Camp Nou outfit got all the three points against Betis on that fateful night, which would have put added pressure on Real Madrid going into the last game of the season.
The heart of the matter
In the January 29th clash between the two sides, Alex Alegria had put the home side ahead around the 75th minute. However, Barcelona looked to have equalised soon after, or so they thought. A cross from the right-wing by Aleix Vidal took a deflection and made its way past the goal line before being cleared by Mendi. However, the Spanish official, bizarrely, decided against awarding the goal to Barcelona.
Barcelona went on to lose the title by 3 points. If they had won the game against Betis, this gap would have been reduced to 1, which would have put additional pressure on Real Madrid, who have failed to keep up the pace from similar circumstances in recent seasons.
La Liga is the only one out of the top 5 leagues that doesn’t have the Goal-line technology, and while the referee should have spotted that Barcelona had scored, it can be forgiven for an honest mistake. However, that is not the only mistake he committed that day, Hernandez wrote in his match report that Betis started the game with 10 men, one of whom was an Osasuna player.