Robert Lewandowski and Gerard Pique were both shown red cards during Barcelona’s 2-1 LaLiga win over Osasuna on Tuesday night.
Lewandowski was handed a second yellow card for a clumsy foul on Osasuna’s David Garcia in the 30th minute, while Pique, who was named on the bench in his last match for the club, was given a straight red card for arguing with the referee at the end of the first half.
Barca boss Xavi Hernandez was also shown a yellow card in a heated match in which the visitors took regular issue with calls by referee Jesus Gil Manzano.
“Pique would have come on today because [Andreas] Christensen wasn’t able to play 90 minutes and Eric Garcia has some pain,” Xavi said after the match. “He was the first centre-back to come off the bench and would have done [if he wasn’t sent off].”
Barca trailed Osasuna 1-0 when Lewandowski was sent off, but despite being down a man leveled the score soon after half-time through Pedri and took the lead with a Raphinha strike to extend their lead in LaLiga to five points over Real Madrid. The outcome means Barca will be in first place during LaLiga’s World Cup break regardless of Madrid’s result versus Cadiz on Thursday.
Pique and Barca had been angered by several Manzano decisions.
The referee had turned down appeals for Osasuna’s opening goal to be ruled out for a foul on Marcos Alonso and later sent off Lewandowski.
In his postmatch report, Manzano stated that Pique argued with him over the opener for Osasuna and then berated him with obscenities, later calling him a “disgrace” and peppering him with swear words after being sent off.
“I am told their goal is a clear foul, a block on [Alonso] at the corner,” Xavi said. “The red card? In my opinion it is dubious. But it doesn’t matter what I say. What’s important is what the referee thinks, who won’t speak today. I think they should have to come out and explain decisions because a lot is at stake.”
Pique made the shock announcement on Thursday that he was retiring from the club, but days later vowed he would be back in a tearful speech following his 616th appearance for the club and last match at the Camp Nou on Saturday versus Almeria.
It was Pique’s 11th red card of his Barcelona career and eighth in LaLiga, and brings the curtain down on his 14-year run in Barca’s first team since returning from Manchester United in 2008.
The red card for Lewandowski, who will be headed to Qatar for World Cup duty with Poland, marked just the second time in his career he had been sent off, with the first coming on Feb. 9, 2013, during his time with Borussia Dortmund.
“I am really proud of the team, of the family that we are inside the dressing room,” Xavi added. “Everything was against us today: the refereeing decisions, the goal, going down to 10.
“We were intelligent. We took our moments well and were clinical with the chances we had. We were solid in the second half, worked hard and we will be leaders during the World Cup break. It’s a team win today. I am very proud.”