Barcelona’s season restart after the FIFA World Cup 2022 did not go according to plan as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Espanyol at Camp Nou earlier today.
Marcos Alonso had given the Blaugrana an early lead in the derby. However, the left-back, starting as a centre-back again, conceded a penalty in the second period which Joselu tucked away to reinstate parity.
Minutes later, the match descended into drama as referee Mateu Lahoz started brandishing card after card, even sending off a player from each team. However, the scoreline did not change as the two teams ended up sharing the spoils.
Despite dropping two points, Barcelona moved back to the La Liga table due to a better goal difference than Real Madrid.
But the result was far from ideal and the Catalans will also have to make do without Jordi Alba against Atletico Madrid next week, as he was one of the players sent off during the game.
Talking about the moment leading up to his suspension, Alba said: “I don’t understand the sending off, I just respectfully told him that I thought Joselu had fouled Christensen.
“I got a booking because I thought it was the first yellow. Sometimes I make mistakes and I have to control myself more, but this time it’s not the case. I’m very surprised”.
“The referee hasn’t given me any explanations, in the end, it’s hard for me to give you the reason, but I haven’t said anything,” he added.
On the outcome of the match, Alba said: “We didn’t want to lose points at home, we made a great effort and it’s a pity that we weren’t able to get the three points.”
Echoing Alba’s sentiments with regard to the referee, goalscorer Alonso said: “Jordi didn’t understand why he was given a second booking for not saying anything. I don’t know if you can ask Mateu? I don’t talk about the referee’s decisions.”
When asked what he thought of the performance of referee Mateu Lahoz, the Spaniard replied: “I can’t give explanations.”
On the penalty incident, which eventually ended up costing Barcelona two valuable points, Alonso said: “I don’t know if I hooked him with my boot, it’s a bad luck action. I feel screwed, we’ve lost important points.”
But, the defender insisted that the team will continue to fight for trophies, saying: “We have a lot of work to do, we still have a lot of things to do. We hope that many triumphs will come and that we will enjoy them here.”
Sergi Roberto, who made his first appearance after returning from injury, was also critical of the referee, saying: “Jordi Alba didn’t know he had a card, he had forgotten. I don’t know what he said to get him expelled. Jordi only told him that he had made his bed. He surprised us.”
Talking about the performance, the Barcelona second-captain said: “We wanted to come out with a victory today. We lacked the finishing touch.”
Up next for the Catalan giants is a Copa del Rey clash against lower division side CF Intercity, following which they will return to La Liga action against Atletico Madrid.