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Zidane responds to Koeman’s penalty claim after Clasico win

Zinedine Zidane, Ronald Koeman
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Zidane gave his opinion on the referee’s decision to turn down a Barcelona penalty appeal during Real Madrid’s Clasico win.

Zinedine Zidane insists it is up to the referee to make the tough call on penalty decisions, and that’s final.

The Frenchman spoke after Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Barcelona in Saturday’s Clasico showdown. Victory belonged to the hosts at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, but it wasn’t without controversy.

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman, for one, was left exasperated by referee Gil Manzano’s decision to not award his side a late penalty after Martin Braithwaite fell inside the box as Ferland Mendy grabbed him during the last 10 minutes.

“I only ask that referees get decisions right,” Koeman said afterward.

“It’s a penalty and then, after that, to only add four minutes of stoppage time when the referee had spent three minutes [fixing a communication] issue with the VAR… But the penalty is crystal clear. There is a referee, a linesman, VAR…”

In response to Koeman’s comments, Zidane told Movistar: “In the end, the referee said it wasn’t a penalty for Barcelona, and he decided that and that’s it.

“We had lots of chances to score more. Before the game, they were ahead of us [in the table]. We’re not only going to talk about the referee, but instead about what we did on the pitch.”

Real Madrid were clinical when it counted in the first half, capitalizing on Barcelona’s errors to move into a two-goal lead through Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos’ goals.

Koeman’s half-time changes prompted a reversal in fortunes for the Catalan visitors, who got a goal back thanks to Oscar Mingueza. But Zidane’s men held on for the win, even though Casemiro’s injury-time red card left them down to 10-man.

“It was a great game,” continued Zidane.

“It’s true that it was tough out there, but we got a deserved win. We had chances to get a third, but it’s a very deserved victory.

“With [Fede] Valverde, we had one more in midfield but also out wide. He’s really quick, and that was the plan. Benzema has the talent and quality, he has so much quality.

“We have to enjoy tonight and the result against Liverpool because we worked hard for these two victories.”