RIYADH — Al Nassr's Luis Castro voiced his concerns in a post-match press conference after a disappointing 3-0 defeat to arch-rivals Al Hilal in the Riyadh Derby on Friday. The coach addressed various issues, prominently emphasizing the need for VAR intervention in crucial moments.
"The initial 15 minutes may have given the impression that Al Hilal was in control of the game, but the truth is we committed recurring mistakes in the beginning that were attributed to playmaking difficulty, then we managed to resolve them thereafter," Castro explained, acknowledging the team's challenges.
However, his most significant point revolved around the officiating decisions and the absence of VAR intervention during pivotal moments in the game.
Castro expressed his discontent, saying: "The game had several moments where the referee ought to have gone to the VAR. This is strange; Al Hilal won and deserved it. Although we made mistakes and the league is still a long way off, we will still make progress—just not in this manner!"
He specifically highlighted incidents where VAR could have played a crucial role, mentioning: "When a ball touched Al Hilal player's hand and went to the goalkeeper, no one spoke about it, not even the referee and VAR. When Al Hilal scored the second goal, Ronaldo was pushed. Has football evolved to the point where you can push anything you want in the game? Because in the Arab clubs championship was the scene of this, and it is happening again now!"
Castro even suggested the need for an additional VAR room to trace the VAR decisions of the game. He emphasized "We needed another VAR room today, to trace the VAR of the game!"
Despite the challenging loss and the gap in the league standings, Castro remained optimistic about Al Nassr's capabilities. "Of course, reducing the gap is challenging, but the league is still ongoing; Al Nassr will keep going strong because we have the capabilities to return and continue the good job."
The coach acknowledged the criticism that comes with a loss but urged the team not to be discouraged. "When a team loses, everything is bad. When it wins, even negative things become beautiful. Today, the team lost, and the talk is about the lack of concentration of the players, technical readiness, and substitutes. We should not let this discourage us; we will press on."
Castro concluded by emphasizing the team's past accomplishments and resilience, even in the face of a substantial defeat in a game that remained evenly matched up to the 80th minute, providing a chance for an equalizer.
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