Soccer  

Courtois hits out at handball decision in Villarreal defeat

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois criticised the handball penalty decision that saw his side beaten 2-1 at Villarreal in LaLiga on Saturday, saying the referee had tried to compensate for giving Madrid a penalty three minutes earlier.

Villarreal winger Yeremy Pino put the home side ahead at the La Ceramica stadium in the 47th minute before Karim Benzema levelled from the spot after an hour when defender Juan Foyth was adjudged to have handled inside the penalty area.

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Shortly afterwards, David Alaba was penalised for another handball, and the resulting spot kick was converted by forward Gerard Moreno to give Villarreal the three points.

“The handballs are open to interpretation and it’s tough,” Courtois told Movistar. “David [Alaba] had his hand on the floor, he’s trying to get up. He fell and it’s his supporting hand. I don’t know what the rule is, I’ve never seen an example like that. Let’s see if next summer they come to talk to us and explain it.

“If you give a debatable penalty to them, where I think [Foyth] didn’t see the ball, you give that one too. It’s a kind of compensation.”

Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti said: “Football has changed, the rules are clear. If your hand isn’t close to your body it’s a penalty.

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“We have to get used to that. I think both penalties were correct under the rules. I don’t think the fans like it, but there’s a rule and referees have to follow that … Everyone who works in this world has to get used to it.”

The defeat leaves Madrid level with Barcelona on 38 points at the top of LaLiga, with Barca playing away at Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

“I think Villarreal played better than us,” Ancelotti said. “We didn’t defend well. The team wasn’t compact and they took advantage of that. Villarreal played at a high level and we weren’t able to match that, above all defensively.”

Madrid fly to Saudi Arabia next week to take part in the Spanish Supercopa — alongside Barca, Real Betis and Valencia — before returning to face Villarreal once again, in the Copa del Rey round of 16.