The referee who awarded Real Madrid the stoppage-time penalty securing a 2-1 La Liga win at Elche on Wednesday may not have been in the "right state of mind" to take charge of the game, the head of Spain's referees committee said on Thursday.
Victoriano Sanchez Arminio told reporters that referee Cesar Muniz Fernandez probably got it wrong when he ruled that Elche midfielder Carlos Sanchez had obstructed Pepe at a 94th-minute corner and pointed to the spot.
The Elche players were furious with the decision, in part because the allocated three minutes of added time had already ended and their plucky performance had been rewarded with a dramatic equaliser three minutes earlier.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who had put Real ahead with a 51st-minute free kick, drove the penalty into the corner and a host of angry Elche players confronted Fernandez on the final whistle.
Television replays showed Pepe and Sanchez in confrontation before tumbling together to the floor, and the Elche players' fury appeared justified.
"I don't think he got it right," Sanchez Arminio said.
"But there you go, sometimes we get it right and sometimes not, that's football," he added.
"The best person to ask about it is [Fernandez] himself. I don't know how he was feeling, if he maybe had some family issue that meant he wasn't in the right frame of mind."
Cesar Muniz Fernandez has already been mired in controversy this season, when he disallowed what appeared to be a perfectly legitimate goal scored by Sevilla defender Cala against Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
Wednesday's decision prompted an ironic comment from Barca's Spain centre back Gerard Pique, who referred to the match on Twitter as a "comedy film."
Barca president Sandro Rosell was quoted by local media on Thursday as saying that he "still couldn't believe it" and that "the evidence speaks for itself."
The referees committee has since decided that Fernandez will not officiate at another Elche match this season, Spanish media reported.
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