Real Madrid’s home match against Almeria was a busy game for referee Hernandez Hernandez, who was in charge of VAR to assist crew chief Hernandez Maeso. The Spanish Football Federation published audio of the talks during those controversial decisions.
“Fran, I’m going to recommend you take a look at a potential penalty because of a handball from the Almeria defender,” said Hernandez Hernandez to trigger the review.
“Yes, the Madrid player heads the ball and it hits on the defender’s arm, which is away from the body, I’m going to call a penalty without a yellow card, OK?” replied Hernandez Maeso.
Right after that play, Almeria scored what could’ve been their third goal but the VAR assisted the referee who ended up disallowing the goal because of a foul on Bellingham.
“Come see the play, there’s a potential foul from the attacker right in the play,” said Hernandez Hernandez.
After confirming that the play ended up in a goal with the foul being a relevant action in the same “attacking phase,” the crew chief Hernandez Maeso said the following:
“Yes, it’s the start of the attack, therefore I am going to disallow the goal for a foul and show a yellow card to Almeria’s number 6.”
The last intervention was arguably the most controversial one, with Vinicius scoring the equalizer for Real Madrid in what was initially called a handball.
“I’m going to recommend an on-field review so that you can assess the no-handball, the potential no-handball in the play,” said VAR referee Hernandez Hernandez. “I’m going to show you, the ball hits him on the right shoulder, right? We’re playing the super slow-motion now, it hits the shoulder, now it’s up to you to assess a potential offensive foul there,” he added.
“To me, that’s not an offensive foul,” said the crew chief. “I agree,” replied Hernandez Hernandez from the VAR.
“Perfect, yes, it hits the shoulder and that’s a valid goal, alright?” said Hernandez Maeso.
“That’s right,” replied the VAR referee.
Real Madrid ended up achieving an improbable comeback with three VAR decisions going their way. Needless to say, that has created a big controversy in LaLiga, with several coaches complaining about those decisions —including Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez— while the word from Real Madrid’s camp is that the VAR got all those decisions right.