A frustrated Sergio Busquets hit out at the inconsistency of referee Javier Alberola Rojas and questioned why Barcelona did not benefit from a VAR review, after it was denied an injury-time penalty in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad.
Fourth-placed Sociedad was good value for its point against the reigning La Liga champion, which was earned through Alexander Isak's 62nd-minute strike after Barca had come from a goal down to lead.
However, the visitor felt it should have had a late spot-kick when Gerard Pique claimed his shirt had been pulled by Diego Llorente as the pair fell to the ground in the Sociedad box.
Barca's frustrations were heightened by the fact it had fallen behind to a Mikel Oyarzabal penalty, awarded when Busquets was ruled to have tugged the jersey of Llorente.
"If you set the bar so low for the first penalty, you have to give so many more penalties," insisted Busquets.
"VAR would have to have intervened in that final play. The penalty on Pique is so clear. I think the referee saw it, but he didn't want to blow the whistle. I don't know why VAR didn't intervene. I would like to know their explanation, but it's not going to happen."
- Valverde: I thought Barca penalty calls were wrong, but Sociedad coach will disagree -
Barca was denied three points in the Basque Country on Saturday, having been outplayed for long periods by a Sociedad side for which Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard impressed.
Yet while sections of the Spanish media bemoaned the consistency of the officials, head coach Ernesto Valverde was more measured in his post-match comments.
"From the bench you see the game with the shirt of your team on," said the Barca boss. "The penalty to Pique? I have not seen it repeated but I will say that it is a penalty and that the Busquets one was not. I guess the coach of la Real will say the opposite."
Barcelona's failure to win means Real Madrid can move two points clear at the top of the table by beating Valencia ahead of Wednesday's Clasico at Camp Nou.
Yet Valverde highlighted the fact his side had faced a stiff opponent in fourth-placed Sociedad, adding: "We had a great team in front of us that is having a great season. The game was very intense in every way."
The 55-year-old also firmly rejected suggestions his second-half changes, which saw Busquets, Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitic withdrawn, had been made with the Clasico in mind.
"What do you think? We are dying here, on the bench, and are we going to think about the El Clasico? You think about what you have in front of you," Valverde stated.
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