Monday, December 10, 2018

There are other challengers – Suarez tempers Clasico fever

SoccerNews in La Liga 17 Dec 2017

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Luis Suarez insists he should have been awarded a goal for a brilliant rabona finish in Barcelona’s 4-0 LaLiga win over Deportivo La Coruna, and has attempted to talk down the importance of next weekend’s Clasico. 

Suarez had opened the scoring and Barca were winning 2-0 at Camp Nou when the Uruguayan reacted quickly to execute a superb improvised finish from a tight angle and at close range in first-half injury time on Sunday.

Deportivo goalkeeper Ruben Martinez sprang into action and referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz was unable to determine with any certainty if the ball had crossed the line before the shot-stopper clawed it away.

Goal-line technology is set to be introduced in Spain’s top flight next season but for now Barca must accept being denied again, Lionel Messi having not been awarded a goal for an effort that appeared to cross the line against Valencia last month.

Speaking to Movistar after the final whistle, Suarez was adamant it should have been 3-0 going into the half-time break.

“I saw it clearly from my position after finishing, since I am next to the line,” he said.

“That’s why I told the referee, even knowing that for the assistant it could have been difficult to guess, since the goalkeeper could have blocked the assistant [from seeing it].”

The frustration of that incident did not prevent Barca from collecting the victory with relative ease, and their attention now turns to next Saturday’s Clasico showdown away to Real Madrid, who are surprisingly down in fourth place in the table, 11 points behind the leaders and five back from second-placed Atletico Madrid.  

“It would be a plus to win there, but there are other challengers – Valencia and Atletico Madrid are both pushing us – and we have to take advantage of the opportunities that come our way,” Suarez said.

The margin of victory against Deportivo could have been far greater for Ernesto Valverde’s side, had their unusual tendency to strike the woodwork this season not been in evidence yet again.

They have hit the frame of goal 19 times in 2017-18, more than any other side in Europe’s top five leagues. 

“You always try to put it [the ball] in [the net], that’s what it’s about,” Suarez said.

“There are times when the ball hits the post and ends up outside, while there are other matches in which the post helps you to be able to score.”

Messi in particular was frustrated by the post and bar on Sunday, missing a second-half penalty, but Suarez is not worried about his strike partner. 

He added: “When the ball doesn’t want to go in, it doesn’t go in, but he [Messi] knows how important he is to all of us.”

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