Girona midfielder Pere Pons admitted that he thought he had fouled Clement Lenglet in the incident that ended with the Barcelona defender's dismissal at the Nou Camp on Sunday.
A seemingly innocuous collision between Lenglet and Pons in the 36th minute of the match was referred to VAR, before referee Gil Manzano showed the disbelieving Lenglet a red card.
Slow motion replays suggested that an elbow may have been involved but it did not seem sufficient to send Lenglet off. Pons apologised immediately after the incident and admitted afterwards that he hadn't even noticed the contact with the elbow.
"Yes, I received a knock [from the elbow] but when I got up, I said sorry to Lenglet and I offered my hand because the foul was against us at first and I thought it was my foul," said Pons, quoted by Sport.
"No one is to blame and in the end it goes to a third party, to VAR. I didn't notice the contact with the elbow."
Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets was infuriated by the decision and pointed to Pons' apology as evidence that Lenglet had been the innocent party.
"It’s not an act of aggression, he wasn’t looking to do that," Busquets said, via Sport. "Even the Girona player apologised because he made a foul. VAR has to be used in the correct way and with consistent criteria."
Not sure if Lenglet 100% intended to elbow Pere Pons, but the way he threw himself on the floor and pretended to be hurt himself afterwards because he knew he'd done something wrong hardly helped his case— Rik Sharma (@riksharma_) September 23, 2018
Barcelona had been winning 1-0 at the time but the match ended in a 2-2 draw for the champions' first dropped points of the season.
This is the first season that VAR has been used in La Liga, following its introduction to the Bundesliga and Serie A last year.