Sevilla and Granada have to restart after referee calls time early


Madrid (AFP) – Sevilla and Granada were made to come back out and play another minute on Sunday, after referee Ricardo de Burgos admitted he blew too early for full-time in a bizarre end to the match in La Liga. 

The controversial u-turn proved insignificant to the result as Sevilla saw out their 2-1 victory at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to stay in the hunt for the title.

Despite four minutes being added on, De Burgos blew his whistle after 93 minutes, prompting protests from the Granada players. 

De Burgos initially seemed to insist his watch showed the four added minutes were played but soon realised his error and summoned both teams to return to the pitch. 

Sevilla’s players had already left and some of them had started to take their kit off, with midfielder Fernando pictured without his shirt on in the stands, shaking his head in disbelief. 

Marcos Acuna had to put his boots, socks and shinpads back on.

“The referee stopped it because he thought time was up and then he told us he’d made a mistake,” said Sevilla’s Lucas Ocampos. “It was finished. I’ve never seen anything like it. We had basically taken our kit off.”

Some of Granada’s players like Roberto Soldado saw the funny side but Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui was incensed the game was going to restart. 

Both coaches pressed start on their stopwatches when the additional 60 seconds began.

Sevilla saw the game through unscathed, with Granada unable even to launch another attack after the match resumed.

An Ivan Rakitic penalty and a Lucas Ocampos’ finish secured victory for Sevilla, despite Soldado’s 90th-minute penalty adding some tension to the late drama.

Sevilla have been largely overlooked in the title race but this result moved them just three points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, before Atletico played away at Athletic Bilbao later on Sunday.

“We know it’s going to be difficult,” Ocampos said. “But if we didn’t believe we wouldn’t be playing football.”

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