Lopetegui furious with pitch and officials after Sevilla lose ground on Real Madrid

By Sports Desk March 13, 2022

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui angrily bemoaned the state of Rayo Vallecano’s pitch, questioning whether their game on Sunday should have gone ahead after his side dropped critical points.

The 1-1 draw in Vallecas keeps Sevilla second but could see them end the matchday 10 points behind league-leaders Real Madrid, who are still to play Real Mallorca on Monday.

Despite the potential title implications, Lopetegui was seemingly more concerned with the pitch quality and how that reflects on LaLiga.

"In a scenario like this, you should not play this game in the Spanish league. I say this for ourselves and Rayo, which is a team that proposes to actually play football," he said post-match.

"It is not good for the league or for the competition and it is also not good for the health of the footballers. The state of the grass is unfortunate."

His criticism did not stop there, however.

The 55-year-old coach saved some for referee Juan Martinez Munuera, with a goal and penalty for Rafa Mir taken away following separate VAR interventions.

The overturned penalty in the 79th minute, with Sevilla chasing a late winner, was particularly contentious as Mir was brought down after apparent contact with Alejandro Catena.

"The referee's action has been decisive. He has annulled a goal and also the action for the penalty. The referees told us that grey areas in decisions are not re-arbitrated and that is why I do not understand," Lopetegui said.

"If we enter into that dynamic, VAR does not have an end. I am surprised by that decision that would not have happened in other games and I am confused by the criteria with VAR that it’s necessary to correct the black and white, but not the grey.

"I think it is an issue to be resolved clearly, but while the issue is being resolved we feel harmed."

Related items

  • Ancelotti hails Madrid experience after Alaba and Benzema secure Super Cup win Ancelotti hails Madrid experience after Alaba and Benzema secure Super Cup win

    Carlo Ancelotti highlighted the experience and unity of his Real Madrid side as key to their Super Cup win after goals from David Alaba and Karim Benzema downed Eintracht Frankfurt in Helsinki.

    Madrid lifted their fifth Super Cup on Wednesday as Ancelotti, who also won the competition in 2003 and 2007 with Milan and 2014 with Los Blancos, became the first coach to claim four victories in the European season's curtain-raiser.

    Benzema's goal sealed a 2-0 win and moved him clear of Raul as Real Madrid's second highest all-time goalscorer, with only Cristiano Ronaldo (450) now bettering his tally of 324 strikes for the club. 

    But Madrid could have gone behind early on when Thibaut Courtois made a fine one-one-one save from Daichi Kamada, and Ancelotti was delighted by the resilience displayed by his team.

    "It was a difficult game, at the start they were so close in a low block, and we had difficulty," he told BT Sport.

    "After we scored the first one at the end of the first half, we had more control and deserved to win, we didn't take risks or play with super intensity, but I think we had good control."

    Madrid became the first Champions League winners to name the same line-up in the final and the subsequent Super Cup since at least 2006, and the experienced midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro quickly established control after Alaba's opener. 

    Frankfurt only managed one shot on target after the break, and Ancelotti believes his team's collective know-how was invaluable. 

    "They're used to playing together, they're comfortable," he added. "For them, it's simple to play together, to find the right time of the game to sometimes have a low block or use a counter-attack.

    "They are so used to playing together."

    Meanwhile, Ancelotti was asked about the future of his son Davide, Madrid's assistant coach who proved a lively presence in the technical area throughout.

    Ancelotti revealed he sees Davide as having a future as a head coach, insisting: "He's an assistant now, [but] for sure he will be a coach in the future.

    "He is working a lot on the set pieces, he has more energy than me! It's normal."

    Having already claimed their first trophy of the season, Madrid begin their LaLiga title defence with a trip to Almeria on Sunday.

  • Newcastle United travel to Tranmere Rovers in EFL Cup second round Newcastle United travel to Tranmere Rovers in EFL Cup second round

    Newcastle United will travel to League Two side Tranmere Rovers in the second round of the EFL Cup.

    The Magpies, who are one of the richest clubs in the world, will travel to Prenton Park later this month after Micky Mellon's men beat Accrington Stanley on penalties in the first round on Tuesday.

    Frank Lampard's Everton travel to League One outfit Fleetwood Town, while Leeds United host Barnsley at Elland Road.

    Aston Villa travel to Bolton Wanderers, Brighton and Hove Albion visit Forest Green Rovers, and Fulham are on the road to Crawley Town.

    All fixtures will take place during the week commencing August 22, with the seven Premier League sides in European competition set to join in round three. 

    EFL Cup second-round draw in full:

    Northern Section

    Bolton Wanderers v Aston Villa
    Derby County v West Brom/Sheffield United
    Wolves v Preston North End
    Leeds United v Barnsley
    Fleetwood Town v Everton
    Sheffield Wednesday v Rochdale
    Tranmere Rovers v Newcastle United
    Rotherham United v Morecambe
    Barrow v Lincoln City
    Stockport County v Leicester City
    Bradford City v Blackburn Rovers
    Grimsby Town v Nottingham Forest
    Shrewsbury Town v Burnley

    Southern Section

    Stevenage v Peterborough United
    Norwich City v Bournemouth
    Newport County v Portsmouth
    Oxford United v Crystal Palace
    Watford v MK Dons
    Colchester United v Brentford
    Wycombe Wanderers v Bristol City
    Walsall v Charlton Athletic
    Crawley Town v Fulham
    Cambridge United v Southampton
    Gillingham v Exeter
    Forest Green Rovers v Brighton and Hove Albion

  • Real Madrid's enduring elders dominate the Super Cup Real Madrid's enduring elders dominate the Super Cup

    Real Madrid have not, yet, rounded off their pre-season. Carlo Ancelotti's team do not start their LaLiga campaign until Sunday, when they take on Almeria.

    Yet at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, the Champions League holders picked up where they left off just over two months ago – with European glory.

    A 14th European crown came their way in Paris back in May, when Vinicius Junior's goal – combined with Thibaut Courtois' heroics – saw off Liverpool.

    And on a comfortable summer's night in Finland on Wednesday, Madrid's assortment of superstars claimed the club's fifth Super Cup with a 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, as Ancelotti's decision to stick with the team that won at the Stade de France was repaid in full. 

    Eintracht, who defeated Rangers to win the Europa League last term, performed admirably, but shorn of Juventus-bound talisman Filip Kostic, the Bundesliga side could not cope with the power and quality at Madrid's disposal.

    Not that it would have definitely been any different with Kostic in the team, as this was a game won mostly in midfield, that is where Madrid exerted their dominance. Though on the occasions when Eintracht did threaten, particularly in the opening 30 minutes when Courtois made two impressive stops, it would be easy to imagine Kostic, who crafted 420 chances, provided 56 assists and scored 30 goals across 167 appearances for the club after joining from Hamburg in 2018, would have helped their cause.

    In a pre-match news conference on Tuesday, Luka Modric – 37 next month – was asked if he planned on asking Ancelotti to manage his minutes with the mid-season World Cup in mind. 

    "I speak to the coach every day, but not about that. The coach knows I like playing and I feel better when I play," Modric replied. "I'm feeling good, available to the team to give my all to help the team in every way. The World Cup doesn't change anything for me."

    Karim Benzema, who scored Los Blancos' second to become Madrid's outright second leading goalscorer after Cristiano Ronaldo, added: "Age does not come into it."

    Benzema's statement rang true. Madrid's starting midfield three of Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro had a combined age of 98, yet surely covered every blade of grass between them, both on and off the ball.

    Having spent much of the opening stages looking to drop into space and ping searching diagonals out to Vinicius Junior, who along with Federico Valverde and Eder Militao adds the effervescence of youth to the starting XI, Modric grew into the game as it wore on, finding the pockets of space only he can.

     

    The Croatian's mercurial talents were on full show early in the second half, after David Alaba had put Madrid ahead – his tap-in having been teed up by a combination of Benzema and Casemiro. 

    In the space of five minutes, Modric linked up exquisitely with Benzema to find Ferland Mendy and create a chance for Vinicius Junior to test Kevin Trapp, who was well beaten from the next opportunity Modric teed up – Casemiro rattling the crossbar from the edge of the box.

    Modric's race was run after Benzema made it 2-0 with his 324th Madrid goal (only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more), and the playmaker headed for the bench having completed 53 of 57 passes (93 per cent), with two of those leading directly to opportunities, though those statistics do not tell the whole story. He was simply spellbinding at times, deft flicks and quick feet toying with Frankfurt's hopes and dreams.

    And what of Casemiro? His tally of nine tackles led the game, with a sliding challenge on Jesper Lindstrom in the 51st minute a highlight.

    Kroos, as Kroos does, went about his business efficiently, without breaking stride. He strolled off with five minutes remaining, making way for big-money signing Aurelien Tchouameni having had 120 touches, completed 97 passes and gained possession nine times, second only to UEFA's man of the match Casemiro (10).

     

    Ancelotti, who has now won the Super Cup a record four times after previous success with Madrid (2014) and Milan (2003, 2007), was able to change things up late on, with Antonio Rudiger joining Tchouameni for a competitive debut, but 34-year-old Benzema who lasted the duration.

    Benzema's goal came from a familiar source. Vinicius found space down the left channel, drilled in a cross and his partner in crime was there to finish it off. The Brazil forward has now assisted Madrid's number nine 16 times. 

    It was he, as Madrid's new club captain following Marcelo's departure, who lifted the trophy. If this evidence, with a team still rounding off their preparations, is anything to go by, it will not be the last piece of silverware he lifts this season.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.