One decision by referee Cuneyt Cakir spoiled an exciting ending to the Manchester United vs Real Madrid match, and ultimately stopped Man Utd from going through to the Quarter Finals.
First off, the game itself wasn’t too spectacular. Both teams did not start well but Real had most of the possession and Man Utd hit them on the counter attack.
It was interesting to see the team selection by Sir Alex, leaving Rooney on the bench and starting Nani instead. I was worried at first but I think Sir Alex got the team and the tactics right for this game.
Danny Welbeck had an outstanding game for United and the decision by Sir Alex to put him centrally and essentially man-mark Alonso was genius. Alonso barely touched the ball and Welbeck’s pace was always a danger on the counter attack.
I thought United were in control of the game despite Real’s possession and managed to get a goal from an own goal by Ramos. From this point I thought United were set to go through. I thought Real would score 1 goal but not 2 and even if they did Man Utd could get another.
Then the incident happened. A high foot by Nani caught Arbeloa in the ribs and he was sent off. Take a look below to see the incident.
Yes Nani did catch him but he was looking at the ball the whole time. It wasn’t as if he looked at Arbeloa and then decided to kick him. It was an accidental collision from an honest attempt to bring the ball down by Nani.
According to Fifa
“A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play.”
“Excessive force means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent.”
Was there excessive force? I don’t think so, Nani was trying to control the ball.
Two more rules from FIFA
“Careless means that a player has shown a lack of attention or consideration when making his challenge or that he acted without precaution. No further disciplinary sanction is needed if a foul is judged to be careless”
“Reckless means that the player has acted with the complete disregard of the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent. A player who plays in a reckless manner shall be cautioned”
Was Nani “Careless”? Yes
Was Nani “Reckless” Yes
So ultimately he should of just been given a yellow and free kick to Real. I wasn’t as bad as Nigel de Jong in the world cup and he didn’t get sent off.
Now I know you may be saying that I am biased because I am a Man Utd fan but even if it was the other way with Arbeloa against Nani, I would say the same thing.
Roy Keane has said that it was a red because it was dangerous play and Nani should be aware of his surroundings. But what about when the Real goalkeeper Lopez missed the ball on a corner and punched Vidic in the face. It was dangerous and he definitely was able to see what was in front of him.
I know Man Utd have goat favourable decisions in the past like at Chelsea in the Premier League. But I am disappointed because this has happened before when Rafael was sent off against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and Man Utd were eliminated.
You may say that Real scored two goals fair and square but those were a result of the sending off. It alowed Alonso and Modric to work in more space which wasn’t there with 11 men on the field.
I would be happier if Man Utd lost by being battered by Real Madrid and not by a refereeing decision.
Here’s one for those who like conspiracy theories. The referee follows Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo on Twitter.
Finally I will leave you with a quote from the special one. Let me know what you think of the match and red card in the comments.
“Independent of the decision, the best team lost. We didn’t deserve to win but football is like this” Jose Mourinho (5/03/2013)
- Manchester United 1 Real Madrid 2 (agg 2-3) – Martin Samuel match report: Cristiano Ronaldo scores (dailymail.co.uk)
- VIDEO: Mourinho praise for Man Utd players (bbc.co.uk)
- Ferguson’s silence spoke volumes (bbc.co.uk)