Disputed goal highlights lack of goal-line tech in Spain

BARCELONA: The Spanish league's lack of goal-line technology was underscored in Real Sociedad's 3-1 victory over visitors Sporting Gijon on Monday.

Sporting goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar dove to block Willian Jose's third-minute header, managing to knock the ball out as it appeared to cross the goal-line. Even in televised repetitions, it was tough to tell.

The referee awarded the goal, and Sociedad never looked back in San Sebastian.

"I was inside, but that doesn't mean the ball was. It was difficult to judge," Cuellar said. "It was an early goal that conditioned the match."

Juan Miguel Jimenez put the result beyond doubt in the 27th. Left back Yuri Berchiche added a third before Elderson Echiejile scored Sporting's consolation goal.

The Spanish league said in January that it would use video referees in 2018, following criticism after Barcelona wasn't awarded a goal that clearly crossed the line in a 1-1 draw at Real Betis.

La Liga president Javier Tebas then said that video referees would be favored over the goal-line technology that is in place in other European leagues due to its lower costs.

While Sociedad climbed back into sixth place and a Europa League spot, Sporting missed the chance to fight off relegation.

Leganes' loss on Sunday opened the door for Sporting to close on the last team clinging to safety. Instead, it remained in 17th place and five points behind Leganes.

"We knew the importance that this game had. Especially given that next week we face Real Madrid," Cuellar said. "We will try to turn this around, but there isn't much time left."