Pran­delli not sur­prised calls went Barcelona’s way

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Va­len­cia coach Ce­sare Pran­delli was not sur­prised that the con­tro­ver­sial calls went Barcelona’s way.

The for­mer Italy man­ager said it hap­pens all over the world: The big teams al­ways seem to get the ben­e­fit of the doubt when it comes to ref­er­ee­ing. He saw that it’s no dif­fer­ent in the Span­ish league.

Pran­delli tried not to blame his team’s 3-2 home de­feat to Barcelona on al­leged bad calls by the ref­eree, but hinted more than once af­ter Sat­ur­day’s game that refs have too much re­spect for the top teams.

“Ev­ery­one knows that the big teams al­ways have a ‘psy­cho­log­i­cal time,” Arse­nal chair­man Chips Keswick told share­hold­ers at a ad­van­tage,’ as we say in Italy,” Pran­delli said. “It’s the same in ev­ery coun­try.”

Barcelona won thanks to a penalty kick con­verted by Lionel Messi in sec­ond-half stop­page time in a game in which Va­len­cia loudly com­plained about calls against Pran­delli’s team at Mestalla Sta­dium.

Al­though the last-minute penalty ap­peared to be called cor­rectly as Ay­men Ab­den­nour fouled Luis Suarez in­side the area, the hosts said the Uruguay striker should have been called off­side when he stood in front of the goal meet­ing where Wenger didn’t ad­dress his con­tract sit­u­a­tion in as Messi opened the scor­ing in the first half. They also were up­set at a non-call of an al­leged penalty on striker Ro­drigo about 10 min­utes later, and ar­gued that Ser­gio Bus­quets should have re­ceived his sec­ond yel­low card for a hard foul just be­fore half­time.

“In Italy I pre­ferred not to com­ment about the ref­er­ee­ing,” Pran­delli said. “I rather not do it, but the im­ages are clear. It’s use­less to say any­thing else, the im­ages are very clear.”

It was the first loss in two matches for Pran­delli since he took charge of Va­len­cia, which has only nine points af­ter nine rounds and is not far off the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

“I am dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult, I’m dis­ap­pointed for the play­ers, I’m dis­ap­pointed for our fans be­cause they cre­ated a mag­nif­i­cent at­mos­phere,” Pran­delli said.

Va­len­cia sports di­rec­tor Suso Gar­cia Pitarch harshly com­plained about ref­eree Un­di­ano Mal­lenco.

“He will be ashamed if he watches this game again some day,” Pitarch said. “Span­ish soc­cer can’t af­ford to have such lam­en­ta­ble ref­er­ee­ing in a game like this.”

Sat­ur­day’s game was also marked by fans throw­ing a wa­ter bot­tle at Barcelona play­ers while they cel­e­brated Messi’s late win­ner. Ney­mar and Suarez both went to ground put­ting their hands to their heads, but were not se­ri­ously in­jured.

Pran­delli said he did not see the in­ci­dent but con­demned it, as did Barcelona coach Luis En­rique, dis­miss­ing any in­sin­u­a­tion that his play­ers might have pro­voked the Va­len­cia sup­port­ers be­hind the goal.

“We cel­e­brated a goal like you should cel­e­brate a goal in the last minute against a tough ri­val,” he said. “It was nor­mal.”

Arse­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger ges­tures dur­ing the match against Mid­dles­brough on Sat­ur­day Photo: AP

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