Barcelona’s Valverde blames referee for Las Palmas draw before facing Atlético

first_img Antoine Griezmann scores four as Atlético close on leaders Barcelona Share on Pinterest La Liga Share via Email Topics Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp European club football Barcelona Las Palmas Share on Twitter Read more Ernesto Valverde was not at all impressed with the penalty decision that gave lowly Las Palmas, 18th in La Liga, an equaliser at Estadio Gran Canaria. Jonathan Calleri, briefly of West Ham United, converted the kick to level the match at 1-1, and in the 42 minutes plus injury time that remained, Barcelona could not find another goal. “We have defended very well, with intensity and courage,” gushed Las Palmas’ manager, Paco Jémez.The Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, chose instead to focus on referee Antonio Lahoz. In particular, he was outraged at his decision to penalise Lucas Digne for handball – and not Sergi Roberto’s foul on Matias Aguirregaray as some thought at the time. Reuse this content Share on Facebook “We don’t know what the referee blew for during that play,” he said. “Nobody knows in the dressing room. In that phase of play we don’t understand what he blew for, it was inexplicable. We hope that his decision will become a little clearer when we see a replay. It was an invisible penalty.” Valverde was also vexed that, just before half-time, Antonio Mateu failed to punish Las Palmas’s goalkeeper; Leandro Chichizola appeared to handle out of his box deliberately. “For me, it was really clear,” he said. Though Barcelona remain unbeaten at the top of the league, they now look pregnable. In their last five games they have dropped six points, half their season’s total, were unimpressive in the Champions League against Chelsea, and on Sunday face their nearest challengers at Camp Nou. Atlético Madrid sit five points off the lead but have won eight matches in a row, the last two in devastating style. They will form as formidable a defensive barrier and offer as dangerous a counter-attacking threat as Barcelona encountered at Stamford Bridge – but their experience makes them unlikely to provide the kind of error through which Andreas Christensen facilitated Lionel Messi’s equaliser, while neither Eden Hazard nor Willian were in form as devastating as Antoine Griezmann, who has scored seven times in his last two games. “The match against Atletico comes up fast and it’ll be important for both teams,” said Valverde. “We go in to it with a bad taste in our mouths, because we could have got a win. We’re the leaders and we’re keen to stay in first place.” Share on Messengerlast_img