Mateu Lahoz gives 14 minutes of injury time in his final game as fans laud iconic referee

 Antonio Mateu Lahoz refused to walk away from his two-decade long refereeing career in quiet fashion, putting on the most Lahoz of displays as he took charge of France vs Greece on Monday

Mateu Lahoz gives 14 minutes of injury time in his final game as fans laud iconic referee
Antonio Mateu Lahoz was at the centre of the drama on Monday night (Image: DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz gave an astonishing 14 minutes of injury time in his final game before retirement as fans were left in stitches.

The Spanish official refereed the last La Liga match of his career earlier this month in a mid-table clash between Mallorca and Rayo Vallecano. He was brought to tears after being given a guard of honour and applauded by fans following a 15-year career at the top level.

Lahoz gained widespread negative attention just months before after losing control of several games within a short period, including Netherlands vs Argentina at the World Cup which saw him brandish 18 cards.

And the 46-year-old certainly didn’t disappoint in his real last ever game in the Euro 2024 qualifier between France and Greece on Monday night.

Any hopes by his superiors that Lahoz would keep a low profile in his final match were dashed when he denied Kylian Mbappe three penalties - two clear-cut - in the first-half. Lahoz finally blew his whistle for a spot-kick when Antoine Griezmann was booted in the head by Konstantinos Mavropanos in the second-half, though he failed to award a red card.

The official’s pantomime display was not over yet, though. He ordered a retake of Mbappe’s saved penalty after a Greece player was deemed to have encroached on the penalty box, and in true Lahoz style, later gave Mavropanos a red for a cynical foul.

Lahoz’s antics were capped off with a sensational 14 minutes of stoppage time, with fans on Twitter left in tears as they joked about the veteran attempting to drag out his career.

“14 minutes of added time in Mateu Lahoz's final game. For the purists. He just can't let go…” one user wrote.

Another tweeted: “Of course Mateu Lahoz gave himself 14 minutes of stoppage time for no reason to extend his career just a little bit longer.”

A third commented: “He's putting together a final Lahoz masterclass,” while a fourth added: “God I'll miss him.”

Even France manager Didier Deschamps decided to get on the Lahoz hype train by criticising his performance but still taking time to wish him a happy retirement.

Deschamps said: “He’s a gentleman. I think the VAR people didn’t want to contradict him because it was his final game! Honestly, having seen it back… there were two or three there – I’ve seen them given for less.

“It didn’t have any impact on the result, but it could have given us a different game. But much respect to Lahoz because he’s had a great career, and tonight was his final game.”

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