Xavi calls refs ’embarrassment’ after Barca draw

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Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez slammed the refereeing in LaLiga after his side began their title defence with a frustrating goalless draw at Getafe on Sunday, and said it is damaging the league’s product.

Both sides ended a fiery encounter with 10 men after Raphinha and Jaime Mata were sent off, while Xavi was also dismissed in the second half for comments made to the officials.

Xavi said referee Cesar Soto had been too permissive with Getafe and accused him of “inventing” a handball against Gavi to avoid giving Barca a late penalty for a foul on Ronald Araújo.

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“It’s normal that people don’t want to watch football, this was barely a match,” Xavi told reporters after the game at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. “If this is the league’s product that we’re selling, it’s an embarrassment. Completely. That is the message tonight. Everyone has seen that. It has to be said, we shouldn’t keep quiet.

“The referee allowed all sorts, sent me off at the first chance and invented Gavi’s handball. The time [wasting] was shameful. We should have stopped clocks because this is ridiculous.”

Barca were incensed early on by several incidents which went unpunished, including two body checks by Damián Suárez, which created the hostile atmosphere which Xavi said led to Raphinha’s expulsion for an elbow.

“Raphinha’s [red card] is a culmination of things,” the Barca boss continued. “The officials allowed them some things, but not us. They wasted time and interrupted the play … that is their game. It’s normal.

“The responsibility lies with the officials. For me, it was too much. We lost our heads and Raphinha made a mistake, but because a lot of things had happened.”

There was further drama in 15 minutes of second-half stoppage time when Soto checked the pitch side monitor for a possible penalty on Araujo, only to give a handball against Gavi instead.

“I don’t see a handball at all,” Xavi said. “If it’s not a clear handball, it should not be whistled. That is what they told us at the referee’s meeting this week.

“And then they give that against Gavi. For me, they have invented a handball. That’s how it is.”

Getafe coach Jose Bordalas said Xavi’s comments were intended to cover up his side’s dropped points on the opening weekend of the LaLiga season.

“I don’t think Xavi’s doing the league a favour saying these things,” Bordalas said in a news conference. “I think his comments are a way of justifying not winning the game with the squad they have.

“I don’t agree with him blaming the officials. I don’t think they benefitted us. We received more bookings and the most violent moment of the game came from [Raphinha].

“It’s a way of justifying dropping points with the way the opposition played, which is disrespectful.”

Barca had earlier come close to opening the scoring when Raphinha’s shot ricocheted back on to the post, but the Brazilian was sent off in the 42nd minute for an elbow on Gastón Álvarez.

Getafe’s numerical advantage did not last long, with Mata dismissed in the 57th minute for a late challenge on Araujo which earned him a second booking.

The Blaugrana threw everything at Getafe late on, with 16-year-old Lamine Yamal creating a good chance for Ansu Fati, but their winless run at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez extended to four games, including three consecutive goalless draws.

“We tried in every way, but we weren’t able [to score],” Xavi added. “I think we deserved to win, but it wasn’t enough. It is a shame.

“A point for us is not sufficient, but this was a very difficult game for us to play. We drew here last year as well and look how we ended up.”



POST AUTHOR: Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens

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