Monday, January 30, 2023

Croatia manager spots something “very suspicious” as Lionel Messi inspires Argentina’s victory

Croatia manager spots something “very suspicious” as Lionel Messi inspires Argentina’s victory

Zlatko Dalic, the head coach of Croatia, described the first goal his team conceded in their World Cup semi-final loss to Argentina as “very suspicious.”

Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the three-goal victory with a penalty kick to become Argentina’s all-time World Cup goalscorer, but the decision to give the penalty kick was highly controversial among ITV Sport’s match commentators.

Inside the penalty area, Julian Alvarez clashed with Dominik Livakovic, the goalie for Croatia. Then, shortly thereafter, Alvarez added a second goal, and in the middle of the second half, Manchester City’s striker scored a third with a close-range finish off a fantastic Messi assist.

Despite early possession dominance against the South American champions, Croatia manager Dalic was obliged to regret the manner in which his squad allowed the opening goal. Dalic elaborated: “We played well for half an hour but we were not specific in our actions. We conceded a goal which was very suspicious.

“First the situation for the corner — according to the reaction of my players, the referee didn’t call it. Then the situation with the penalty. It was a little bit too cheap and too easy, to be honest. Then we tried to go back and we conceded a second goal. We had ball possession but we made no specific opportunities.”

He added: “They had control over us and the ball possession was not in our hands. We had a corner that was called by the referee and then a counter-attack where our goalkeeper did what he did and these new rules…”

Dalic continued: “Otherwise I will not say that we will be objecting to the referees (but) I think the first goal took the match in a different direction.”

However, the Croatian manager has no complaints about his team’s performance after their World Cup campaign.

“I can’t blame my boys for anything. We were in control for the first half hour, but then we conceded a goal after that penalty.

“Sometimes luck favours you, sometimes it comes back to you in a different way. From what I understand, the boys protested against the corner. We conceded a goal from that action. But we lost the game and I have nothing to complain about.”

Unsurprisingly, Dalic did not lack praise for Messi’s magnificent performance after the superstar scored and added another assist to his tournament total. The head of Croatia stated: “Well, not much needs to be said about Messi’s qualities. In the past 15 years he’s probably the best player in the world.

“He was good and dangerous and makes a difference in the Argentina team. He has the explosivity and technique at a very high performance and it’s the true Messi we expected to see.”

He continued: “Argentina has an excellent team and Messi being the player of such quality and motive and to have 50,000 supporters… they play as they best find it fit. They had four midfielders and closed the middle. Messi can take one step further and make the difference, which he did for the third goal.”

Croatia manager spots something “very suspicious” as Lionel Messi inspires Argentina’s victory

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