Barcelona defender Gerard Pique stoked the fire of his side’s rivalry with Real Madrid after branding the refereeing in Madrid’s 2-1 victory over Elche a “comedy.”
The dig primarily referred to the controversial call made by Spanish referee Cesar Muniz when he awarded Madrid defender Pepe a 96th minute penalty with the score tied at 1-1.
The incident saw Pepe appear to pull down Elche’s Carlos Sanchez in the area but instead of giving a free-kick to the newly promoted side, Muniz pointed to the penalty spot. Up stepped Cristiano Ronaldo, who beat Manu Herrera into the lower left hand corner to secure his brace and a 2-1 victory.
The decision prompted Pique to Tweet: “Watching a great comedy on Canal + Liga…” Since the tweet aired on Canal plus last night, the Catalan’s words were retweeted 45,000 times.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti noted after the game that Pepe had assured him it was a penalty. But in a post-match interview the Portuguese defender told other journalists that it was not the right decision. “We really cannot talk about justice,” he told Spanish television. “We are just pleased with the three points.”
The penalty decision was the icing on the cake as Muniz had a number of questionable decisions on the night.
In the 58th minute Elche could have had a penalty of their own but again, Muniz flipped the script by booking Elche’s Damian Suarez for diving. Los Blancos were also fortunate not to have Sergio Ramos sent off. After cautioning the player in the 9th minute, Muniz refused to issue Ramos his marching orders after numerous infractions.
One player who seemingly agreed with Pique’s assessment of the situation was Elche’s Carlos Sanchez, whose rage over Muniz’ decision to award the penalty resulted in his being sent off. Sanchez was one of nine Elche players to see a card while only Ramos and Ronaldo were shown cautions for Madrid.
For his efforts, Muniz required a security escort to leave Manuel Martinez stadium. It’s safe to say he probably won’t be appointed when Madrid travel to the Camp Nou for this season’s first installment of El Clasico on October 26th.