Koeman insists 2-0 flattered Sevilla as Barca coach questions officials

By Sports Desk February 10, 2021

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman does not believe Sevilla's 2-0 Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg win over the Blaugrana was a fair reflection of the match, while he also questioned the officials.

Jules Kounde opened the scoring in the first half with a fine individual effort, before former Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic wrapped up a potentially significant win in the latter stages.

Lionel Messi did go close several times for the visitors, with Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou keeping him at bay as he made four saves in total – the Moroccan has saved all 18 shots on target he has had to face in this season's Copa.

The two teams renew hostilities at Camp Nou on March 3 for the second half, though Barca have only progressed past Sevilla once in the Copa when losing the first leg to the Andalusians.

Barca shaded the possession (53.6 per cent) and their 13 shots were two more than the hosts, with Koeman left convinced his side had been hard done by.

"It is a result with too much reward for them," Koeman said. "We have seen a Barca playing well, creating a very clear chances.

"We have put a lot of pressure in the second half. I cannot blame the team. There is another game left, we have to try to win and play the final.

"It is difficult at 2-0. We had opportunities to score, but their defence was good, as was their goalkeeper too, but at home this Barca is capable of anything."

Barca were left frustrated by a moment in the second half where Suso was adjudged to have fouled Jordi Alba just outside the box, yet Koeman and his players were convinced the offence occurred inside the box.

The VAR did not appear to intervene, and this left Koeman bemused.

"Mateu Lahoz [the referee] I think was good in general," Koeman said.

"Of course, there was always doubt with the incident of the penalty, because everyone says it was a penalty, so I have to believe them – not only the Barca people [said it should have been a penalty].

"I don't know why the VAR has not intervened."

Sevilla go into the second leg with a significant advantage and know that an away goal will give Barca a mountain to climb, but they are not getting ahead of themselves, aware the most difficult task is yet to come.

"We knew it was going to be very difficult, the team played a great game, we fought to the end and that is worth it, football gives back to you in this way," Rakitic said.

"But we have half the work left to do in Barcelona."

Coach Julen Lopetegui echoed that sentiment, adding: "The team played a great game against a Barcelona that arrived in good form.

"We played well, we defended well and it was a very beautiful game. Now, we have the most complicated and most difficult thing left, which is to play at the Camp Nou. We are aware of the challenge."

Related items

  • Panthers lose key players but remain unbeaten in defeat of Texans Panthers lose key players but remain unbeaten in defeat of Texans

    The Carolina Panthers lost key players on both sides of the ball to injury Thursday but managed to maintain their perfect record to start the season with a 24-9 defeat of the Houston Texans. 

    The win was some consolation for Carolina on a night when they saw All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey depart in the second quarter with a hamstring injury and their top draft pick, cornerback Jaycee Horn, leave in the third with a reported broken foot. 

    Carolina entered the game as the only NFL team not to trail in a game this season, and the Panthers once again struck first, with Sam Darnold capping a 10-play drive in the opening quarter by running it in himself for a five-yard touchdown. 

    Their defence did surrender its first points in the first half this year, as Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills hit Anthony Miller for a one-yard TD with 29 seconds left in the opening half, but Joey Slye missed the extra point to leave Carolina in the lead entering half-time. 

    Darnold had decent numbers, completing 23 of 34 passes for 304 yards, and DJ Moore caught eight passes for 126 yards, but the Panthers could not find the end zone with their passing game. 

    That led to some creativity, as rookie tight end Tommy Tremble ran the ball in from seven yards out to give Carolina a 14-6 lead in the third quarter.

    After the teams traded field goals in the fourth, the Panthers put the game away when Darnold ran it in from one yard out with 4:07 remaining. 

    This marks the fifth time in Panthers history they have started 3-0. They made the playoffs three of the previous four times, most recently their 2015 team that went 15-1 and lost to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. 

  • Referees send people off for nothing – Koeman unhappy with red card in Barca's 0-0 draw with Cadiz Referees send people off for nothing – Koeman unhappy with red card in Barca's 0-0 draw with Cadiz

    Ronald Koeman says referees in Spain send people off "for nothing" after both he and midfielder Frenkie de Jong were dismissed in Barcelona's dire 0-0 draw with Cadiz on Thursday.

    Barca's hopes of leaving Andalusia with a much-needed win were dealt a blow when De Jong received a second yellow card in the 65th minute for following through on Alfonso Espino after initially winning the ball. 

    The Catalan giants' woes were compounded deep into stoppage time when Koeman was also ejected for his protestations towards referee Carlos del Cerro Grande.

    The stalemate means Barca have now drawn three of their opening five LaLiga games this season to sit seven points adrift of leaders Real Madrid, although Carlo Ancelotti's side have played a game more. 

    Koeman's dismissal followed a frantic period that saw two balls in play at the same time, with the Dutchman claiming he was given his marching orders by Cerro Grande for alerting him to the situation. Sergio Busquets was booked for kicking the rogue ball towards the Cadiz player in possession.

    "It was not because of nervousness, it was because I told the fourth official that there was a second ball on the field and the referee had to stop the game. Everyone except the referee saw it," he told Movistar.

    "They expel you for nothing, in this country they expel you for nothing. I have asked the referee as normal. Attitude? We leave it because it is not my problem."

     

    The goalless draw means Barca have failed to scored in two of their past three games across all competitions – as many as in their previous 41 matches. 

    Meanwhile, their tally of eight goals scored at this stage of the season is their worst since the 2003-04 season when they scored just five in their opening five matches. 

    Koeman's future has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks and the Dutchman is aware that is unlikely to subside in the coming days.

    "I do not talk about my personal situation," he added. "It seems that if I win I continue and if I lose the club has to find another coach. It is for you [to talk about].

    "The president [Joan Laporta] was at the hotel, and we greeted each other shortly before leaving. Surely there will be more days to talk about this issue if the club wants to talk."

    Barca are next in action against Levante at Camp Nou on Sunday. 

  • La Russa on 'Fantasy Island' after returning to lead White Sox to AL Central title La Russa on 'Fantasy Island' after returning to lead White Sox to AL Central title

    The Chicago White Sox clinched their sixth division title with victory over nearest American League Central challengers the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.

    In the first game of a double-header at Progressive Field, the White Sox prevailed 7-2 to become the first team in MLB to clinch a division this season.

    It is the fourth time they have won the AL Central – but first since 2008 – to go with two prior AL West triumphs.

    In-form shortstop Tim Anderson was hugely influential in the decisive win, with three hits, two runs and four RBIs. It was his seventh straight game with a hit since returning from a hamstring injury.

    But manager Tony La Russa was the centre of attention, having only returned to the major leagues with the White Sox this season after 10 years away.

    Having served as White Sox manager between 1979 and 1986, earning their first division championship in 1983, La Russa went on to win the World Series with both the Oakland Athletics (in 1989) and the St Louis Cardinals (in 2006 and 2011).

    The 76-year-old retired as a champion with the Cardinals but was brought back to Chicago to have an immediate impact, even if he credits the team.

    "The whole thing for me is Fantasy Island," he said. "Coming back like this.

    "We all know the truth. The first three jobs, the clubs were struggling when I took over. Managers don't walk into a situation like this, with a team so ready to win.

    "So, I'm very, very fortunate."

    The White Sox had a .383 win percentage as recently as 2018 but had improved rapidly prior to La Russa's arrival. The .136 increase between 2019 and 2020 was the ninth-largest year-to-year improvement in team history.

    But La Russa's players have certainly noted his impact, as Anderson said: "He came in and allowed us to be ourselves.

    "He always says players first. He allowed us to play the game the way we would want to and allowed us to have some fun."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.