Referee Watch: Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez‎ In The Clasico Between Barcelona And Real Madrid

Goal.com's Subhankar Mondal examines the key decisions from Monday night's big game in the Spanish Primera Division.
Spanish referee Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez‎ was given the task of officiating el Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

It's never an easy task in a game of such magnitude, so how did
Iturralde Gonzalez do? There were some controversial moments at Camp Nou and below we look at some key decisions and analyse whether or not he got them right.

Flashpoint 1: Cristiano Ronaldo Push On Pep Guardiola, 33'


Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo gave Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola a push near the touchline. It sprung out of frustration but was totally unnecessary. Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes came running  out of his goal to give Ronaldo a piece of his mind. A number of players including Andres Iniesta got involved in the subsequent tussle. Iturralde Gonzalez‎ flashed both Ronaldo and Valdes yellow cards.

The Verdict: Deserved yellow card for both Ronaldo and Valdes. It was an unnecessary and disrespectful act on the Portuguese's part but Valdes himself was irrational by lashing out at Ronaldo and running 50 yards from his own goal.

Flashpoint 2: Pepe On Lionel Messi, 37'

Messi was setting up an attack outside the Madrid 18-yard box when Pepe decided to pull him back. It was a desperate challenge and one that the Portugal international was shown a yellow card for.

The Verdict: Deserved yellow card for Pepe. It was a clear foul on the Argentine but since the Portuguese had fellow defenders in his vicinity, it didn't warrant a red.

Flashpoint 3: Victor Valdes On Cristiano Ronaldo, 39'


Ronaldo was released down the left side of the Barcelona penalty area at an acute angle and reached the ball at the same time that Valdes did. The Barca custodian dived at the feet of the Portuguese, who went down. Madrid's appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears.

The Verdict: Given Ronaldo's reputation, Iturralde Gonzalez‎ would have been sceptical anyway but this was not a penalty. Valdes did genuinely go for the ball and forced Ronaldo to lose possession. Having said that, former Manchester United winger didn't take a tumble either as he couldn't stay on his feet due to Valdes' challenge.

Flashpoint 4: Ricardo Carvalho On Lionel Messi, 45+1'


Messi was embarking on one of his mazy runs when Ricardo Carvalho went for a challenge. Messi fell down with suspicions that he had taken a dive. However, after he had got on his feet and was trying to give Carvalho a piece of his mind, the centre-back threw an elbow at his face.

The Verdict: One can understand why Iturralde Gonzalez‎ flashed the yellow in front of Messi as from his angle it would have appeared that the Argentine had taken a deliberate tumble. However, he or one of his assistants down the touchline ought to have observed Carvalho's subsequent elbow at his face. It was a red-card offence and the former Chelsea defender should have been sent off.

Flashpoint 5: Ricardo Carvalho Handball, 71'

Barcelona played one of their usual balls from the midfield that was on course to reach a Blaugrana shirt when Carvalho intercepted the pass with his hand. The referee spotted the mistake and awarded him a yellow card.

The Verdict: Carvalho deservedly received a yellow card for his handball offence but the question is whether it should have been a red. The point is that Carvalho had his fellow defenders near him and also the handball offence was committed a few yards outside the penalty area, so a direct red card would have been a trifle harsh.

Flashpoint 6: Sergio Ramos On Lionel Messi & Carles Puyol, 90+3'

With the clock ticking down and Messi in the middle of a threatening run near the centre-line, both Lassana Diarra and Sergio Ramos came rushing towards the Argentine and went for his legs. Ramos got on to his feet soon after but shoved Barcelona captain Carles Puyol on the face. He was promptly sent off after being shown a straight red card.

The Verdict: Ramos was rightly shown the red card as he was not provoked by Puyol, who simply came over to protest against his challenge on Messi. Indeed, Ramos' lunge on the Argentine warranted a yellow card of its own as it was made from the behind.

Overall: Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez handled the situation very well at Camp Nou and kept his composure throughout. There were two tussles but the Spaniard was on top of both of them. However, there were one or two incidents that he should have been more vigilant about, rendering his officiating imperfect. But then again, football itself is imperfect and so are footballers. And so was Iturralde Gonzalez but his performance was still worthy of applause.

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