Villarreal said goodbye to their Vice-President Jose Manuel Llaneza on Thursday. In their first home match since, midfielder Alex Baena wanted to pay tribute to him but ended up getting into trouble.
The Yellow Submarine had found themselves 1-0 down against Almeria. In the second half Alex Baena equalised from a corner and went to the corner to celebrate it.
He lifted his top to show the message ‘Thanks for everything Llaneza’ on it.
When he began returning to the half-way line, he was met with a red card. Already on a yellow, the referee brandished a second yellow for lifting his top over his head.
🟡 Alex Baena heads in an equaliser for Villarreal…
…but then is sent off in bizarre fashion for a second yellow after lifting up his shirt to show a tribute message to Villarreal vice president Jose Manuel Llaneza, who passed away earlier this week 🟥 pic.twitter.com/iqOqsjDPAf
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) October 23, 2022
Controversy at the Ciutat de Valencia.
Alex Baena equalised and then celebrated by dedicating a message to recently departed Jose Manuel Llaneza – 'Thanks for everything Llaneza'.
He was then shown a second yellow and sent off. pic.twitter.com/CdDFcfK1fV
— Football España (@footballespana_) October 23, 2022
Furious protests ensued but the referee had made his mind up and Baena was forced to walk.
The referee was following the letter of the law and in that sense, cannot be questioned. However it does seem harsh that a show of compassion, at a sensitive time for Villarreal, was punished.