Antonio Mateu Lahoz reportedly apologised to members of the Espanyol squad after Saturday’s heated Catalan derby with Barcelona.
The Derbi Barceloni was won 2-0 by the table-toppers, but the match was overshadowed by Mateu Lahoz’s decision to send off Jordi Alba for two bookable counts of dissent in quick succession.
According to Cadena COPE, the referee approached a group of Espanyol players in the tunnel after the final whistle and apologised for allowing Lionel Messi’s second goal to stand.
It is claimed that Mateu Lahoz owned up to his error after he saw replays of the goal at half-time, in which Luis Suarez looked offside in the build-up to the Argentine’s finish.
Spanish media quarters have praised the official for a refreshing display of honesty, but Barca may feel they too are owed an apology for the controversial nature of the left-back’s dismissal.
Alba will now miss Barca’s midweek game against Getafe, while Hector Moreno – who suffered a similar fate – will be unavailable for Espanyol’s trip to Granada.