Madrid ‘bothered’ by Bellingham red card in controversial Valencia draw

Real Madrid’s English midfielder #5 Jude Bellingham vies with Valencia’s Spanish defender #14 Jose Gaya during the Spanish league football match between Valencia CF and Real Madrid at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on March 2, 2024 AFP

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Saturday his side were “bothered” after midfielder Jude Bellingham was sent off after the controversial final whistle in the 2-2 La Liga draw at Valencia.

England’s Bellingham was shown a red card after protesting after referee Jesus Gil Manzano blew for time an instant before Bellingham hit what would have been a 99th minute winner at the Mestalla.

Manzano blew as Brahim Diaz whipped in his would-be assist. Madrid players, coaches and substitutes flooded the pitch to confront the referee and Bellingham earned  a red card.

“I think what’s just happened is unprecedented. It’s never happened to me,” Ancelotti told reporters.

“We had possession of the ball and the match should have been finished when Valencia had the ball.

“What bothers us is the red card for Bellingham because he didn’t say anything insulting. He was frustrated of course,” said Ancelotti, adding that Bellingham had used a common English swearword when telling the referee it was a goal.

Madrid’s second draw in three league games leaves the 35-time Spanish champions seven points clear of second-placed Girona, who head to lowly Mallorca on Sunday.

On Wednesday, Ancelotti’s outfit welcome RB Leipzig in the Champions League last 16 second leg, with a 1-0 aggregate lead.

The hosts in central Spain led 2-0 after just half an hour as striker Hugo Duro and Roman Yaremchuk deservedly put Valencia in the lead.

Real’s reaction came five minutes into first half injury time with Vinicius Junior’s first goal.

The Brazil attacker then equalised with 14 minutes to play.

The game marked his return to a ground where he was racially abused last season and Vinicius celebrated both goals with gestures towards the Valencia crowd, including raising his fist to the air after one effort.

Madrid pushed forward for a winner as Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby attempted to clear but his right leg was trapped under Tchouameni in the 89th minute.

Guinea’s Diakhaby was stretchered off after players from both sides were visibly shaken by his injury.

After the incident, the referee added seven minutes of injury time. Almost two further minutes had been played when Bellingham thought he had claimed three points.

The draw gives Girona a chance to cut the deficit to four points on Sunday.

– Sociedad problems –

Earlier, a reshuffled Real Sociedad went down to a fourth defeat in their last five matches with a 3-2 loss to Sevilla ahead of their Champions League second leg against Paris Saint-Germain.

This second consecutive setback in La Liga plunges the Basques into doubt just three days before they host PSG hoping to turn round a 2-0 first-leg deficit.

The Basques were undone by Moroccan striker Youssef En-Nesyri, who bagged a brace in two minutes early in the game before Sergio Ramos got the third on 65 minutes.

An Andre Silva penalty deep into first-half injury time gave the visitors hope but Brais Mendez’s consolation in the second minute of added time was not enough.

Third-placed Barcelona coach Xavi said on Saturday it was now the “moment of truth” for his side who are on a roll of four league wins in five with an away match at Athletic Bilbao in La Liga and a Champions League return game at home to Napoli.

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