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Atlético Madrid v Real Valladolid

'The appeal was understandable' - Simeone sympathises with Valladolid over VAR call

21:40 SAST 2019/04/27
Mario Melero Lopez - cropped
Atletico Madrid were given a reprieve by VAR in their win over Real Valladolid, and Diego Simeone sympathised with the strugglers.

Diego Simeone offered some sympathy to Real Valladolid after a controversial VAR call during their 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid.

An own goal from Joaquin Fernandez secured all three points for Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, meaning Valladolid could drop into La Liga's relegation zone if Girona beat Sevilla on Sunday.

Sergio Gonzalez's side were denied a late penalty after Fernando Calero's header struck the arm of Santiago Arias before deflecting behind.

Referee Mario Melero Lopez, having watched back the footage on the touchline VAR monitor, decided to stick with his initial decision and awarded only a corner.

And the Atleti head coach said he understood how frustrated Valladolid will have felt after the incident.

"It's always difficult being on the other side," he said. "In a team playing for their lives, like Valladolid, the protests make sense.

"I know the referee was left to explain why he didn't give the penalty, but the appeal was completely understandable.

"As for handballs, we had episodes like that at the Santiago Bernabeu and Villarreal, where the referee understood it was not a penalty."

Atleti's win means Barcelona must beat Levante later on Saturday to secure the league title this weekend, although even a shock defeat at Camp Nou would leave them six points clear of Simeone's men, and with a superior head-to-head record, with three games left.

Simeone, though, is not quite giving up hope.

"Football is amazing because it brings unexpected and expected results," he said. "It's much nicer to become champions by playing, rather than finding out on the radio.

"They have a great opportunity. Levante play very well, and I'll be watching the game at home.

"Our goal today was to win. Barcelona are tremendous, and we'll have to wait and see what happens."