In a dramatic and contentious start to their Spanish La Liga title defence, FC Barcelona faced a series of challenges that left both players and fans frustrated. The clash against Getafe on Sunday unveiled a myriad of controversies, from a red card to VAR decisions, casting a shadow over the much-anticipated league opener.
FC Barcelona’s hopes took a hit in the 42nd minute when Raphinha was shown a red card for an elbowing incident involving Getafe defender Gastón Álvarez. The intense battle for position in attack ended with Raphinha making contact with his right elbow, resulting in his dismissal from the match. This early setback forced Barcelona to play with ten men for a substantial portion of the game.
As the match progressed, Getafe’s Jaime Mata was also shown the red card after receiving his second yellow card for a foul on Ronald Araujo in the 57th minute. This provided a glimmer of hope for Barcelona, despite being down to ten men, as they now faced a more balanced numerical equation on the field.
However, the twists and turns were far from over. Barcelona found themselves appealing for a penalty kick during stoppage time when Araujo was brought down inside the penalty area. Hopes were momentarily raised among the Barcelona faithful, only to be dashed by the intervention of video review. The review revealed that there had been a handball by Barcelona midfielder Gavi in the buildup to the penalty incident, leading to the denial of the penalty kick.
The decisions, or lack thereof, on the field, led to a chorus of complaints from the Barcelona camp. The frustration culminated in the dismissal of Barcelona’s coach, Xavi, who was sent off in the 70th minute for vociferously arguing with officials over a foul that had not been called.
Amid the controversies, the match also marked the debut of Barcelona’s new midfielder, Ilkay Gundogan. The player, freshly arrived from Manchester City during the offseason, stepped onto the field with the hopes of contributing to Barcelona’s title defence.
As Barcelona navigates the highs and lows of this new La Liga season, their opening encounter serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictability and challenges that can arise in the world of football. With VAR decisions continuing to be a topic of debate and controversy, Barcelona’s journey to retain their title promises to be a test of their resilience and determination in the face of adversity.