Barcelona went nine points clear at the top of the La Liga table on Sunday, but not without controversy. As the Blaugrana held on to their one-goal lead, Fran Perez went down under a challenge from Franck Kessie in the box. No penalty was given, but it was heavily debated afterwards.
According to RadioMarca’s refereeing expert, Alfonso Perez Burull claimed that it was not sufficient for a penalty to be awarded.
“There is contact, but there is not enough intensity. The referee is right by not calling a penalty because the Valencia player allows himself to fall after the action with Kessie.”
After the game, Valencia manager Ruben Baraja was reluctant to rant about the decision, but did say he felt there was contract, and presumably a penalty. Marca covered his comments too.
“The penalty is an interpretable action. If he touches the player before or after… I haven’t been able to see the play. I did notice that it wasn’t reviewed. We cannot get into those plays but we can review it to see it. These details are important. The feeling is that there is contact.”
Straight after the match, Valencia midfielder Hugo Guillamon was also careful in the face of potential action from governing bodies, but was clear that he felt it was a penalty too.
“I had the feeling that the referee was going to call a penalty, but in the end he decided not to. But then I think that’s why there is VAR, to see these things, it’s true that they told me that there was contact, that he steps on him.”
🗣️Hugo Guillamón, jugador del Valencia: "Le pisa y hay contacto, el árbitro lo dice"
"Si no lo ha pitado… Ya nos tocará"#LaLiga #LaCasaDelFútbol pic.twitter.com/HqijF5Qz2W
— Fútbol en Movistar Plus+ (@MovistarFutbol) March 5, 2023
Meanwhile after the match, DAZN’s panel of Albert Edjogo-Owono, Guti and Miguel Quintana all agreed that they felt it was a spot-kick.
¿Hubo penalti de Kessié? 🧐@albertoowono, @GUTY14HAZ y @migquintana lo tienen claro #ElPostDeDAZN ⚽ pic.twitter.com/i6XFhj2TTP
— DAZN España (@DAZN_ES) March 5, 2023
Ultimately the incident will pass by unpunished, but Real Madrid fans and Valencia fans alike will feel that Barcelona have been spared, in what could have been a potentially crucial points swing.