Controversial referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz has reportedly been sent home by FIFA after being blasted by Argentina star Lionel Messi for his poor officiating in the quarter-final.
Lahoz was in charge of Argentina’s clash against the Netherlands on December 9th and made dubious decisions.
During a game that was constantly punctuated by flares from both teams, the Spanish referee gave out a total of 15 yellow cards.
The official received numerous complaints despite Argentina winning on penalties.
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After a bad-tempered clash between the two teams, Lahoz issued an eye-watering 17 yellow cards, while Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries also received his marching orders.
Meanwhile, two-goal hero Wout Weghorst was also issued with a booking even before he took to the pitch.
Lionel Messi blasts referee Lahoz
Despite Argentina’s advancement in the semifinals, Lionel Messi criticized him after the match in an uncharacteristic manner.
“I don’t want to speak about referees because after they will sanction you. But people saw what happened,” he said as quoted by Daily Mail.
“I think Fifa must take care of this, it cannot put a referee like that for a match of such magnitude, of such importance. The referee cannot fail to be up to the task”
Numerous reports have claimed that Lahoz was sent home and cannot participate in any way in the remaining four games. He is part of the referees who have been released from duty.
Below is the list of released referees and ARs from #FIFAWorldCup after the Quarterfinals. 2/2 #Qatar2022 @ArbitroInteBlog pic.twitter.com/Dwt6zf9jkp— Mike (@VictoriaGooner) December 12, 2022
The fact that he was sent back home might not be related to the Argentina game. However, fans online have been quick to say that Messi may have gotten his wish after all.
Argentina will be facing the 2018 World Cup runner-up Croatia in the semi-finals clash on Tuesday.
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