?Barcelona manager Quique Setién says his side only picked up a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad ‘thanks to VAR’, following the technology’s intervention to award the Catalan giants a late penalty.
The reigning La Liga champions were struggling to break past Real Sociedad throughout large sections of the match, but Lionel Messi was able to pop up with a winning goal from the penalty spot after Robin Le Normand handled the ball inside the area.
Referee Juan Martinez Munuera needed some help from the video assistant before coming to his final decision, and Barça boss Setién says his side wouldn’t have won the match without the new technology.
“We knew that it would be a tremendously difficult game, [Real Sociedad], I think, had won their last six games, [including] one at the [Santiago] Bernabéu,” Setién said, quoted by Marca.
“They’re in the Copa [del Rey] final, they’re good on the ball, they never give it away. If they press you well, they can hurt you. They’ve got quality players.
“Apart from certain phases, we controlled the game. Then, we had difficult moments, but we created danger.
“We won thanks to VAR. I didn’t see [the penalty incident] from the bench, I was far away.”
It’s a result which has moved Barcelona two points clear at the top of the table, although Real Madrid could reclaim top spot on Sunday.
Los Blancos face a tough trip away to Real Betis, who they haven’t beaten in their last two attempts – both of which came at the Bernabéu. Real Madrid haven’t lost a match at the Estadio Benito Villamarín since 2012.
Regardless of what happens with Real Madrid, Barcelona will already have one eye on the second leg of their Champions League last 16 match against Napoli.
Setién’s side do have a narrow advantage after earning a 1-1 draw in Naples, but the club had been starting to build momentum under new manager Gennaro Gattuso just before Italian football was halted due to the coronavirus.
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