Spanish official Antonio Mateu Lahoz has reportedly been sent home from the FIFA World Cup after criticism from Argentina icon Lionel Messi.
Lahoz was in charge of the highly controversial quarter-final clash between Argentina and the Netherlands. The match was marred by questionable officiating from the 45-year-old, who brandished 18 yellow cards and one red card throughout the night.
Moreover, the Spanish referee added 10 minutes of added time at the end of the second half.
Argentina and Lionel Messi were bemused by Lahoz’s decision, and the Netherlands struck a last-gasp 90+11th-minute equalizer. The Argentines still prevailed, beating Oranje 4-3 on penalties.
But Lahoz’s performance was lambasted, including by Lionel Messi, who said:
“I don’t want to speak about referees because after they will sanction you. But people saw what happened. I think FIFA must take care of this. It cannot put a referee like that for a match of such magnitude, of such importance. The referee cannot fail to be up to the task.”
It seems that FIFA have heeded the advice of the Paris Saint-Germain attacker. According to Carrusel Deportivo, Lahoz is heading home after his disappointing officiating of Argentina’s win over the Netherlands.
Lahoz had previously taken charge of the 2021 UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea. He officiates in La Liga regularly, but his reputation has now taken a knock.
Argentine referee Facundo Tello, who oversaw Morocco’s memorable 1-0 victory over Portugal in the quarter-finals, has also been sent home.
Selecao das Quinas duo Bruno Fernandes and Pepe accused Tello of being biased towards Morocco. They believe his Argentine nationality shouldn’t have allowed him to continue officiating in the competition.
Tello’s compatriot Fernando Rapallini was removed after officiating Morocco’s 3-0 penalty shootout win over Spain.
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni showered praise on Lionel Messi after his performance in FIFA World Cup QF
Lionel Messi was in a celebratory mood despite the controversy surrounding Argentina’s win over the Netherlands on Friday, 9 December. The legendary Argentine captain is on his way to the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup and will face Croatia on Tuesday, 13 December.
Messi provided a perfect assist for Nahuel Molina to open the scoring before calmly slotting home a penalty in the second half.
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