Cadiz manager frustrated with Celta Vigo decisions, war of words sparked with Rafael Benitez

Cadiz picked up a point away from home in the North of Spain against Celta Vigo on Monday night, which would normally be seen as a good point for them. However the manner in which it unfolded infuriated the visiting side.

Just after the half hour mark, central defender Victor Chust was sent off by referee Jesus Gil Manzano, for pulling Iago Aspas back when it was deemed that he was the last defender. Images show that Fali had an opportunity to intervene after Chust’s pull. Cadiz manager Sergio Gonzalez was furious about both that, and what he deemed to be a missed foul on Roger Marti.

“There is a clear foul against Roger, he does not point it out. I still think that Fali can reach that play, Aspas does not have the ball under control and we do not know what is going to happen, perhaps Fali makes a leap and arrives. It is an action for the VAR to look at,” he told Cadena Cope.

Gonzalez fell short of calling conspiracy, but did note that he felt his side were being treated differently for their style of football.

“They are putting a stigma on us that we exaggerate fouls, we make more fouls, we waste time… The measuring stick is a little different. My players tell me that one team’s treatment of the other is different, so I don’t like that feeling. The referee has to be objective.”

🗣️ @sergio8gonzalez habla en #DAZN con @ainhooaperez27 sobre el arbitraje en Balaídos

“Al Celta le han devuelto todas, parece que hemos sido el ‘muñeco punching’, imagino que Rafa Bénitez no tendrá esa sensación de otros partidos”#LALIGAenDAZN ⚽ pic.twitter.com/t6FvyJkTLU

— DAZN España (@DAZN_ES) December 4, 2023

While it can be easy to be dismissive about refereeing decisions, Sergio pointed out that his job could have been on the line had his side lost against Celta that evening, as the Galician side piled on the pressure in the closing moments.

“They can fire me today, they can fire the coaching staff, I can lose my job for one action. You have to try to be very rigorous. We risk our lives, they risk their prestige, but we risk our position, with the family behind us and with everything that that means.”

And it was not lost on Sergio that his opposite number, had spent numerous weeks complaining about the use of VAR and decisions since he arrived at Celta.

“Today they have returned all of them [the decisions] to Celta and they have seen Cadiz as an outfit to be able to return them. I imagine that Rafa Benitez will not have that feeling that he has had in other games. I hope they give it back to us in some game. I have the feeling that they are making us smaller and smaller. I would like you to reflect a little on everything.”

🗣️ “No sé el tiempo real, parece que estás poniendo excusas, pero el tiempo real cada vez es menor y eso no beneficia al fútbol”

La valoración de Rafa Benítez del duelo ante el Cádiz, en #DAZN, con @ainhooaperez27#LALIGAenDAZN ⚽ pic.twitter.com/huvpPdKYVv

— DAZN España (@DAZN_ES) December 4, 2023

Benitez did respond to Sergio’s frustrations, but noted one of his own too.

“Returning all of them [decisions] would be a lot of them. Each of us sees things through the glass and colour we want. The times the game has been stopped is not real time, which is getting less and less and that does not benefit football.”

Benitez has been critical of referees on a number of occasions this season, and the general organisation of La Liga since returning to Spain. However he refused to criticise the referee’s performance on this occasion. Until managers are able to see that they have benefitted from decisions too, their complaints will ring somewhat hollow.