Referee Mateu Lahoz, who was sent home from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar after overusing the yellow card, is stirring up trouble once more, but this time in La Liga.
The Spanish association football referee gave out 16 cards during Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Espanyol on Saturday afternoon, putting him in the spotlight once more. During Argentina vs. Netherlands at the World Cup, he gave out some 17 yellow cards.
Xavi’s team had 78% of the ball and had taken the lead early on through Marcos Alonso’s goal, but Joselu’s late penalty cost them all three points.
The game really picked up steam starting in the 70th minute, when nine additional minutes were added to the game due to a flurry of cards, incidents, and, of course, VAR.
Two of them were for Raphinha and Xavi, who were both off the field at the time. However, between the 78th and 83rd minutes, when Jordi Alba and Vinicius Souza were both dismissed swiftly one after the other, the game descended into chaos.
Leandro Cabrera was also given the boot, but the decision was oddly reversed, with home fans bemoaning the performance of the infamous World Cup referee.
The outcome puts Barcelona on top of La Liga, ahead of Real Madrid—its rival for the title. The team led by Carlo Ancelotti raised their hopes on Friday night with a 2-0 victory at Valladolid.
The game will be remembered for Lahoz’s antics despite the significance of the outcome from Saturday afternoon.
Only 22 days have passed since he was kicked out of the World Cup for issuing 17 yellow and one red card during Argentina’s victory over the Netherlands.
Football fans took to social media to voice their frustration, most of whom used humour to commentate on his first game since the World Cup.
“If you thought Netherlands vs Argentina was a full-on immersive Lahoz experience, welcome to the full show,” one fan said.
When asked why the ref was booked, Xavi told Mirror “I told him that he had lost control of the game.”
“‘Do you think? But we keep coming back to the referee and I can’t control the officials.”
“They should come out and speak, explain their decisions and say what they said to the players. I can’t do anything.”
Mateu Lahoz, who was previously described by Messi and Martinez as ‘useless’ will surely answer to FIFA for his performance.