Carlo Ancelotti has insisted that the decisions that controversially went in Real Madrid’s favour in a win over Almeria were the correct calls by the referee.
Madrid had been expected to sweep aside Almeria, who sit at the foot of the La Liga table and without a win all season, with relative ease, however the home side went behind inside 40 seconds of the first whistle, before conceding once again prior to half-time.
A sea of changes at the interval helped turn the tide of the game, with Los Blancos eventually winning 3-2 thanks to goals from Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Junior and a 99th minute tap in from Dani Carvajal.
Along with tactical changes making a difference for Ancelotti’s side, Madrid were also the benefactors of three seemingly jubious calls from referee Francisco Jose Hernandez Maeso.
The first of which was the decision to award Madrid a penalty for a handball in the penalty area – a penalty which Bellingham duly converted. Shortly afterward, Almeria had thought they’d restored their two-goal advantage, however a VAR check saw the goal be chalked off for a supposed foul on Bellingham in the build-up.
The third decision was perhaps the most egregious error of all, with the referee opting to allow a Vinicius Junior goal stand despite replays showing the ball hitting off his elbow before nestling in the bottom corner of the net.
When asked about the decisions after the game, Ancelotti insisted his belief that all three decisions were correct:
“I understand Almeria’s anger with the VAR decisions, but I think they were all well decided,” said Ancelotti.
“I’ve seen them. I think the referee made the right decision, not VAR. VAR warned him and he decided. And I think he was right.”
The win sees Real Madrid remain within one point of surprise La Liga leaders Girona atop of the table, with the pair set to face off in a huge game in mid-February.