Controversial World Cup referee Mateu Lahoz provided more entertainment in his first game back in Spain by presiding over Barcelona’s fiery 1-1 derby draw with Espanyol on Saturday afternoon.
Lahoz took charge of three games in Qatar, most notably Argentina’s penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands in the quarter finals, after which he was criticised by Lionel Messi who urged FIFA not to appoint him again because “You can’t use a referee like him for these matches”.
He gave out 15 yellow cards and sent off Denzel Dumfries in that World Cup game and he wasted little time in resorting to his pocket in his first La Liga game since the winter break.
The 45-year-old distributed another 13 yellow cards for dissent to some tempestuous Barça and Espanyol players, also dismissing both Jordi Alba – who talked his way into a red card – and Vinicius Souza.
Espanyol equalised through a penalty awarded in the second half but also needed VAR intervention to overturn a red card given to Leandro Cabrera. Barça manager Xavi also appeared to be ejected during the chaos.
Alba and Souza will miss games against Atletico Madrid and Girona respectively, while further pressure will be on Lahoz as ridiculous games continue to follow him.