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'Spot on!' - Ref was right to award Real Madrid Casemiro penalty, says Solari

17:17 GMT+3 26/02/2019
Casemiro, Real Madrid
Los Blancos won two disputed spot-kicks in their win over Levante but their boss believes the official got his decisions correct with the help of VAR

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari has shrugged off the furore surrounding his team's winning penalty against Levante at the weekend ahead of back-to-back Clasicos.

Real won 2-1 in La Liga on Sunday thanks to two contentious spot-kicks from Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

Referee Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva awarded both after using the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system - and Solari insisted the official had got his decision with the second spot-on, despite Casemiro appearing to dive to win it.

The Brazilian, 27, went down easily under pressure from Cheick Doukoure and Villanueva stuck with his initial decision to give the kick - which Bale scored.

"There's no doubts about Casemiro's penalty," said Solari ahead of Wednesday night's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg (kick-off 8pm GMT/3pm ET) with Barcelona. "The referee was right.

"Well, we all talk about the referees when they fail, but doing it also when they are right...come on!

"Whenever technology is used for plays that can be interpreted, there will be differences of opinion.

"There is no doubt about the penalty from the other day for anyone who knows the rules."

Real host Barca in the cup with the tie poised at 1-1 before facing them again - also at home - in La Liga on Saturday evening (kick-off 7:45pm GMT/2:45pm ET).

The win against Levante took Real to within nine points of league leaders Barcelona going into the two consecutive Clasicos.

Asked if the Cup semi second leg was vital for Real, Solari said: "Is it the most important game of the season for Real? It's as important as the first one.

"We had several opportunities to earn a more favourable result [in the first leg], but we have a great rival, which raises the level of competition.

"We must continue to do what we do well.

"It's going to be a beautiful match. It always puts Spain as the world capital of football, and this makes Spain a wonderful country."