La Liga referee exposes dressing room chaos after sending trio off

La Liga referee Javier Iglesias Villanueva was the centre of controversy on Friday night in Elche’s dramatic 3-2 loss to Real Betis and has revealed that he was confronted by an angry Christian Bragnarik after the final whistle. Elche have been diabolical in La Liga this season, winning just one game and conceding a league-high 48 goals.

Three of those came on Friday night against Real Betis after Elche had found themselves holding a 2-0 lead. Villanueva awarded Elche a contentious penalty in the sixth minute with Fidel scoring from the spot before Lucas Boye doubled the host’s lead two minutes later.

But that game descended into chaos midway through the second half when Lisandro Magallan was shown a straight red card after being adjudged to have handled the ball intentionally while being Elche’s last man following a VAR check. Elche’s players protested the decision with the team’s bench also getting involved and Pape Chiek clearly said something on the touchline as the substitute was also shown a straight red.

The home crowd grew even more restless with the official when he awarded Real Betis a penalty minutes later with Borja Iglesias scoring from the spot. Real Betis then drew level in the 68th minute when Juan Miranda’s cross evaded everyone and bounced in off the post.

Elche’s disappointment then turned to rage in the final few minutes of the match when a third penalty was awarded when Enzo Roco was harshly judged to have handled the ball in the box. Iglesias had his spot-kick saved but there was even more drama in stoppage time when a fourth penalty of the match was awarded with Roco the guilty party for a handball offence once again.

To add further insult to injury, the defender was shown a second yellow card to make him the third player sent off. Willian Jose stepped up and scored the resulting spot-kick to give Real Betis all three points.

Elche were left furious at the final whistle with the club’s Twitter account posting: “Please, we want to be treated with equality and respect, neither more nor less than the rest. We are a historic and centenary club. It is the least we deserve.” That anger carried over into the dressing room with Villanueva noting down in his match report that Elche owner Bragnarik and the club’s sport director Sergio Martinez Mantecon had verbally assaulted the match officials in the tunnel.

He wrote: “Once we entered the changing room tunnel after the end of the game, he went towards my assistant referee number 1, Mr. Sergio Martinez Mantecon, director of the sports area of ​​Elche CF, identified by the police with the following terms: ‘you are scoundrels, sons of w***e, repeatedly, having to be restrained by several members of the national police force. Likewise, he goes towards my assistant number 1 Mr. Pedro Schinocca, also identified by the police, with the following terms: ‘I’m recording you son b***h’ while bringing his mobile phone to her face.

“Likewise, already at the door of our locker room, he goes towards the refereeing team Mr. Christian Bragarnik, with the following terms: ‘you are not going to leave here’.” Elche are yet to comment on the referee’s report and it remains to be seen what La Liga’s reaction will be.

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