Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

Zinedine Zidane 'annoyed' as Real Madrid replace Barcelona atop La Liga after win at Real Sociedad

Frenchman was forced to defend his team after three key refereeing decisions went their way at Reale Arena on Sunday

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane was left "annoyed" at persistent questions over refereeing decisions after his side moved top of La Liga with a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad that featured some contentious calls.

In the build-up to the game, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique had claimed that too many decisions were going Madrid's way after their 3-0 win over Valencia, in which Rodrigo Moreno had an opening goal ruled out.

Zidane was forced to defend his team then and the Frenchman did so again following the victory at Reale Arena, which featured three key decisions that all favoured Madrid.

"It annoys me that at the end of the day people are only talking about the referees as if we did nothing out on the pitch," Zidane told a virtual news conference.

"But we cannot control what people will say. We win matches on the pitch and that's what we did today. It was a deserved victory."

Sergio Ramos scored the opening goal just after the break with a penalty after a dubious foul on Vinicius Jr, while Sociedad had an Adnan Januzaj strike ruled out for a positional offside against Mikel Merino.

Karim Benzema then doubled Madrid's advantage in the 70th minute after controlling a cross with the top of his arm, the goal being awarded following a VAR review.

"I didn't see the plays but I've been told the penalty decision was correct and that Benzema's goal was legal," Zidane said. "I don't get involved in controversies because that's the referee's job. I just want to think about our deserved victory.

"I would prefer to talk about football and the match, I can't say anything else about the other things."

Merino, who pulled one back for Sociedad in the 83rd minute, was highly critical of the decisions, particularly the one to disallow Januzaj's goal.

"We're angry with everything but mainly with the way we lost, because the little details and the big moments went against us," the 24-year-old Spanish midfielder said.

"I was at least five metres from Courtois when I was flagged offside. I don't know if the same thing would have happened had it been in the other area but the flag went up and we feel that we have been wronged."

Having won all three matches since the season re-started after the hiatus caused by the new coronavirus, Real now lead the title race due to a superior head-to-head record over Barcelona, who were held to a goalless draw at Sevilla, but Zidane said there was still a long way to go.

"We haven't achieved anything yet even though we've got nine points from nine," he said with another eight rounds of Liga matches remaining.

"It's going to be difficult right until the end. We always want more and you have to recognise how great our attitude was today. We saw a team that always wanted to win."

Updated: June 22, 2020 08:46 AM

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