Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has blasted a journalist who said he should have seen red in his side’s 2-2 draw with Villarreal on Sunday.
The centre-back picked up a yellow card for handball early in the contest and then survived a big appeal for a second caution when he handled again before the interval.
As reported by Sport, that prompted Pedro J Ramirez, who writes for El Espanol, to say “(If this is no a sending off then my God…) The clear red card offence by Pique which the referee did not want to see.”
Pique responded, though, insisting the decision to book him for the first offence has been overlooked, accusing the journalist of bias:
Por qué usted no habla de la primera amarilla? Porque no le interesa. Sáquese la camiseta cuando haga periodismo. https://t.co/Q6XAZA2hxz— Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) March 20, 2016
“Why don’t you talk about the first yellow?” reads the defender’s post, per Sport. “Because it doesn’t interest you. Take off your club colours when you’re being a journalist.”
The decision not to dismiss the defender was one of many that left the Villarreal players and their manager Marcelino dismayed. The latter was sent to the stands after Pique escaped a second caution, while the players reacted angrily as a harsh penalty was given against them in the first period.
Still, Villarreal, who went down to 10 men themselves in the 24th minute when Bruno was red-carded, rallied in the second period to snatch a point.
BBC Sport’s Andy West felt as though their efforts were not helped by the match officials:
Bravo Villarreal. Excellent performance and fully deserved point. Right result in the end despite the worst efforts of the ref.— Andy West (@andywest01) March 20, 2016
Here are the highlights of this incredible game, including the controversial decisions aforementioned:
Despite letting this one slip, Barcelona still extended their lead at the summit of the Liga table, with the usually watertight Atletico Madrid collapsing to a 2-1 loss away at Sporting Gijon.
It’ll be disappointing for coach Luis Enrique to surrender a two goal lead to a side with 10 men, but as Phil Kitromilides from the Spanish Football Podcast notes, Villarreal are a very handy outfit:
Villarreal would comfortably beat every team in the Premier League.— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) March 20, 2016
It was a match that saw emotions running high throughout, and in the case of Pique, after the game, too.
Villarreal clearly had a game plan to be physical with this Barcelona team, picking up a whopping nine yellow cards on the day. It was a ploy that left them down a man early on in the contest, although it eventually yielded a hard-earned point. So while they may feel some decisions were harsh, they were certainly no angels out on the field.
Taking the second handball in isolation, Pique was lucky to escape without a booking; there’s little denying that. But to put together a run of 39 games without defeat, a mark Barca acheived with a draw at the Madrigal, any team, even one as marvellous as this Blaugrana outfit, needs a fair portion of luck.