Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez expressed his frustration with a controversial VAR decision that cost his team a late victory in their La Liga clash against Granada on Sunday.
The match ended in a 2-2 draw, leaving Barcelona in third place in the league standings.
The pivotal moment occurred in the dying minutes of the game when Barcelona, already having staged an impressive comeback from a 2-0 deficit, believed they had secured all three points. Joao Felix slotted the ball into the net in the 92nd minute, igniting wild celebrations. However, VAR intervened and disallowed the goal for an alleged offside infringement.
Although Felix himself was found to be onside, VAR officials identified striker Ferran Torres as having strayed beyond the last defender. Controversially, they decided that Torres’s positioning had influenced the play enough to rule the goal out.
Xavi, visibly frustrated after the match, stated, “First, the referees told me that Ferran touched the ball. Who is Ferran interfering with? It is clear that he interferes in the play because it has been ruled out. But the ball passes two meters away from him. But he doesn’t bother anyone.
Xavi fumes with VAR after offside controversy in Granada draw! 😡— Football Coverage (@onthatdayss) October 9, 2023
• Joao Felix saw a late goal ruled out in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Granada
• Officials ruled Barcelona's Ferran Torres was offside
• Xavi's side came from 2-0 down to snatch a point pic.twitter.com/d4nh9VuWTS
“Just as the referee can rule out Felix’s goal, he can also give it. I think Torres doesn’t interfere; whether Ferran jumps or not, the ball goes to the same place.”
The disallowed goal left Barcelona and their fans disappointed, as it would have capped off an impressive comeback. Xavi continued to argue that Barcelona deserved to win the match, citing their dominance in possession and numerous scoring opportunities.
“We were very good with [Ilkay] Gundogan in the pivot position, and then [Oriol] Romeu was very good,” he said. “We changed the system a little in the second half, with a four-diamond tactic in the midfield, in order to break the opponent down, and I think it went well. We deserved to win.”
Barcelona indeed dominated the game, holding 81% of the possession and registering 22 shots on goal. Xavi lamented their missed chances and emphasized the need to rectify their mistakes, saying, “We created plenty of chances to win the match and take the three points.”
Despite their impressive performance, the result sees Barcelona drop to third place in the La Liga standings, trailing behind Girona and league leaders Real Madrid. The team will need to regroup and maintain their strong form to mount a challenge for the league title as the season progresses.