UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

UEFAChampionsLeagueLogo (Getty)

 

The first two spots in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals will be decided today, and at least one European giant will be eliminated from the competition as Manchester United and Real Madrid square off at Old Trafford (2:45pm, Fox Soccer Channel).

United and Real Madrid finished the first leg at the Bernabeu tied 1-1, meaning United have a valuable road goal and could advance with a win or scoreless draw. Real Madrid have enjoyed a recent surge in form, led by the red-hot Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be playing at Old Trafford for the first time since leaving Manchester United for Real Madrid three years ago.

The big storyline today is Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to bench Wayne Rooney. Danny Welbeck starts in his place, playing alongside Robin Van Persie.

In the day’s other Round of 16 clash, Borussia Dortmund takes on Shakhtar Donetsk in Germany (2:45pm, MSG Plus/Fox Soccer Plus). The sides finished a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Ukraine, giving Dortmund a sizable advantage in the road goals department. Shakhtar will be buoyed by the fact that key Dortmund defender Mats Hummels will miss the match with the flu.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured. Bookmark the permalink.

189 Responses to UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

  1. Spectra says:

    Who is the awful announcer on Fox Soccer? He keeps screaming every time anyone has the ball anywhere near teh box. Very annoying while trying to work

    • RB says:

      And cue the Gus Johnson fanboys…

      • Pete says:

        Gus Johnson is the Joe Buck of American soccer announcers.

      • jon says:

        very pessimistic about the gus johnson experiment. not watching now, but have seen a couple of his efforts. he comes off as an earnest guy who is trying really hard but doesn’t know anything at all about soccer – which is exaclty what he is. having a play by play guy who obviously knows nothing about soccer = not good.

        • Brett says:

          I hate that commentary style where he just yells the players name with the ball and then describes what they did long after he play is over. No analysis of movement or tactics, just a bunch of yelling.

    • Rob says:

      Truly, I don’t know why we haven’t been able to have the regular Champion’s League announcers. Did Fox lose their tie in rights or something because I can’t see why we’re using him. I can tolerate him as much as I can John Harkes

    • Dinho says:

      “Very annoying while trying to work”? Huh?

  2. a says:

    Gus johnson what a joke……….. imagine if any of the british guys tried calling lame ass NLF football or wack ass fat guys running in PJs oh I mean MLB. But thats what you get when the media trys too appeal to everyone. I mean why try to mess up a really good thing I mean the champs league games have been called using the british guys all along and now they change it. I’ll change it over the spanish guys on fox deportes……. I mean that high school spanish should work for some thing.

  3. Spectra says:

    WOW Nani Red Card. That was very delayed. I wonder if Nani mouthed off or something

  4. manicmessiah says:

    Can’t believe Nani got sent off based on how the ref has called the game so far.

    • Shark says:

      From the BBC:
      Nani’s foot was high as he went into an aerial challenge with Alvaro Arbeloa, but his eyes were on the ball throughout. His studs catch the Madrid defender in the ribs though and that is enough for Cüneyt Çakır to produce red.

  5. david says:

    Gus is one of the best college basketball announcers out there.he brings excitement to the game and heightens it to whole new level. look up his name on youtube and you’ll see why. He’s new to soccer and still adjusting but he’s getting better in the second half

  6. A says:

    I’m so sick of commentators saying a referee has done wrong by a game for a proper, tough call.

    • Shark says:

      Too bad your wrong yourself….

      From the BBC:

      Everton manager David Moyes on BBC Radio 5 live: “That is incredible. That is a terrible decision from what I can see. That is a really poor decision by the referee. It was never a sending off and this could really change the game. Danny Welbeck will need to come out and play on the left and it will be interesting to see what Sir Alex Ferguson does. He still has the best players out there for him, but it is going to be a long encounter.”

      • A says:

        I am not wrong.

        I could give two *****s what David Moyes says.

        A jumping studs up cleat to a player’s chest is a red card.

        • B says:

          ^^^Real Madrid fan I’m guessing.

          That is a gross over-exaggeration. He was trapping the ball.

        • Shark says:

          Internet tough guy who appears to not know whole about football….

          And I suspect a Real Madrid fan….right?

      • BCC says:

        Couldn’t care less what anyone on the BBC says.

        I would give that a “Yellow+.” Not Nigel De Jong/Xabi Alonso bad, but still a poor move on Nani’s part (and note the irony in my example). A red card was a stretch but not too egregious.

    • PSU says:

      I can see that as either a yellow or a red. Didn’t seem to be any intent. However, if you go studs up that high in the air and make contact, I don’t think you have much room to complain.

    • Old School says:

      A, the point is when you quote the “BBC”, it means you’re smart…or something.

  7. A says:

    And Rafael stops a goal with a handball and gets away with it.

  8. ed - houston says:

    Dortmund is running away with it.

  9. Francois says:

    Well the calls are even in the Madrid v. United game. I think the non-call on the Handball by Rafael has made up for the red card.

  10. Francois says:

    Modric with a wonder strike!! If they get thru now, all of his mediocre play for Madrid will be forgotten.

  11. A says:

    Holy. Mother. Of. God.

    That was the most incredible goal.

  12. Shark says:

    The ref has made himself the center of attention and decided the game…..very sad indeed….

    • A says:

      It’s a red card. End of story. Nani made himself the center of attention when he did a flying jump kick into an opponents chest, completely missing the ball.

      That’s the definition of a reckless, dangerous play deserving of a sending off.

      To say the referee is wrong to send him off is just pure homerism or lack of knowledge.

      • Shark says:

        No its not the end of story….I suspect your a Real Madrid homer based on your posts and spinning your top as fast as you can….

        It was a bad call….now its end of story…

        • edmondo says:

          It is reckless. I have 20 years experience as a player, coach and fifa licensed referee. Granted, I would have given a yellow, but cannot argue with a red

    • JeffP says:

      The only reason anyone’s surprised that a cleat to the chest was a red card is because it went against United at Old Trafford.

    • RK says:

      Sounds like DeJong is playing…

  13. Francois says:

    Great backheel flick by Ozil to Higuain, who puts a great ball across the goal mouth for Ronaldo to finish off.

  14. Spectra says:

    The drama isn’t over yet here comes Pepe

  15. biff says:

    The ref is the Turkish ref who wrongly gave Edu the yellow/yellow-red cards two weeks ago. In that same game, he made several other bad calls against Bursaspor. I mean really bad calls and at the time I thought this ref needs to be thoroughly investigated.

    I am not a Man U fan at all but there is only one reason any ref would pull a red card out of his pocket on Nani. Not even the Madrid players were expecting it. This ref needs to be investigated.

    • A says:

      The referee needs to be investigated for red carding someone who did a flying studs up kick into an opponents chest?

      Get a clue.

      • Spectra says:

        I think the call was harsh but certainly not enough to call for an investigation into cheating

      • Dudester says:

        Warren Barton needs to also get a clue.”The ref needs to be 100% sure there is intent if he’s gonna send Nani off”.Tottaly wrong, a karate kick to the chest is a red whether he meant it or not.

        • RB says:

          “a karate kick to the chest is a red whether he meant it or not”

          Except when it’s the WC final and Howard Webb is reffing.

        • Chupacabra says:

          Correct. The rules say nothing about intent (or variations thereof) when it comes to reckless or dangerous play.

          • bryan says:

            not to mention it would be impossible for intent to be an official rule. how the heck is a ref supposed to know the intent of every player and every foul they make? it’s impossible.

          • Paul Miller says:

            Actually the word ‘reckless’ implies no intent. If there was intent to kick a player in the chest, that would be malicious, not reckless. Reckless is the same as careless – as in not bothering to think that one’s cleats might miss that ball and spear the other guy in the ribs.

    • bryan says:

      oh please. i think it was a harsh red, but he came in with his studs up chest high, missed the ball, and got all the player. no matter what his intentions, the ref isn’t out of his mind to give a red. i think it was harsh, and clearly Jose did too (as well as most people), so i understand people want to talk about it. but come on dude, investigation?!?! give me a break. besides, he missed Raphael blocking Higuain’s shot with his arm off the line.

      lopez should get a yellow for this ridiculous play acting at the moment though…

  16. dcpohl says:

    Awarding the red card was horrible judgement by the referee. And what do you know? We might have a quarterfinal round without an English side.

    • Conrad says:

      What do you mean “we,” white man?
      ;)

      • Michael Stypulkoski says:

        I don’t understand your comment at all. Is it a reference to something?

        • Paul Miller says:

          It’s an old Tonto joke. Lone Ranger is surrounded by hostile indians. “Tonto, we might be in trouble.” “What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?”

          I thought it was a pretty clever play in response to no English teams advancing, lol.

  17. Francois says:

    United now appealing for everything to be given after that questionable red card. Typical.

  18. Jim says:

    Can’t see it live because I’m in work, but I just looked at a gif of Nani’s foul. Seems a bit harsh, but hardly outrageous given the fact that he didn’t get the ball at all and his boot was above the waist. Is there something I’m missing? Because it’s not just United fans complaining– most journalists on twitter are saying it was an awful call, too.

    • Shark says:

      Ah but the guy called ‘A’ would disagree with you….only he knows football…ha ha…

    • Dudester says:

      That call could’ve gone both ways.It did seem like the ref gave most calls to Madrid though.

      • bryan says:

        like ignoring Higuain’s equalizer (potentially…) being cleared off the line with Raph’s arm?

        • Dudester says:

          That was very hard to see in real time.I have a 50 inch hd tv 5 feet away from my face and didn’t see it till the replay.Neither did the commentators.

          • bryan says:

            lol that’s the excuse? “it was hard to see?” it was still a blown call…they have a ref standing RIGHT THERE for that exact reason.

    • bryan says:

      people think it was harsh because the “intention” was to get the ball. but of course, the intention is irrelevant once you miss the ball and your foot is chest high, studs up, and it nails the player in the rib. but that is where the debate is coming from. should his good intention count for something?

      • Kevin_H says:

        It’s a valid point. Should a player be 100% sure his actions won’t injure another player before making a potentially dangerous move?

  19. asdf says:

    ………………………..GGGIIIIIIGGGGGSSSSSSSS…………………………… this anouncer sucks

  20. A says:

    Someone please explain how a jumping stud to a chest is NOT a red cardable offense. And quote the rule.

    Law 12, page 37 of the FIFA rule book…

    A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he commits any of the
    following seven offences:
    • serious foul play

    If anyone wants to make an argument that a jumping studs up cleat to a player’s chest is not serious foul play, I’m willing to listen.

    • B says:

      I agree that is a red card offense, but that is not what happened.

    • Shark says:

      Interestingly enough even Ives disagrees with you bor;

      Ives Galarcep ‏@SoccerByIves
      The ref blew this game with that red card, but Real Madrid was ruthlessly efficient in taking over. Credit to Diego Lopez for some BIG saves

    • Shark says:

      Funny thats not what happened….so your wrong again….

      • Conrad says:

        A is right. It is a legitimate red card. Was it harsh? Absolutely. Almost certainly not a red in the Premier League. I mean, the severity is debatable, but the rules are petty clear. It’s a dangerous play. Nani (and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy) was unlucky.

    • baropbop says:

      How do you ever go for a ball above the waste without your studs being up? Studs up is a bs term that isn’t in the rules and gets used far too much. Are you suggesting that players should never be able to go after a ball with their feet if it’s above the waste? Having “studs up when you are going for a low ball is a totally different story than when stretching for a chest high ball while flying through the air.
      In a Champions League match between those teams, it isn’t a red. Barely a yellow.

      • Pirithous says:

        It is perfectly fine to go for a high ball with your studs up; of course you have to put your studs up to reach a high ball with your feet.

        BUT, if you do it with other players around going for the same ball, it becomes a dangerous play (not necessarily a card, but an indirect free kick), even if you don’t make contact with another player. If you do it, you are responsible for what your studs hit, regardless of whether you are trying to get the ball or trying to kick the player. If (like Nani) you are just trying to get the ball up that high but hit another player, especially one who himself gets the ball before you get to it, it is a very serious offense. This was not as bad as De Jong’s kick in the world cup, but it is the same idea — recklessly going after a ball without regard for the players around you. It could be justified as a yellow, since the contact was not that bad in the end and Nani certainly did not seem to be trying to kick the player, but the default is that a kick like this that makes contact is a red, even against United in the Champions League at Old Trafford. Like someone said above, Roy Keane himself said it should be red.

        • A says:

          Well said.

          • baropbop says:

            Nope. Studs up doesn’t always equal a red card. Somehow a massive amount of people think that’s true, but it isn’t a rule.
            If he goes after that with his head he gets leveled and Ariola is the one with the red. His flying chest at the the player he could clearly see (unlike Nani) was also quite reckless. I say no harm no foul when two players are both going flying.
            I guess my real point is that in the BPL that is very rarely a red….and that’s why I watch BPL.

  21. Francois says:

    I really don’t like United, they complain so much all the time. The cry more than almost any team, I guess they take after their manager.

  22. Francois says:

    I wonder how much “Fergie” time there will be. I don’t like Diego Lopez’s act though, tarnishes the game.

    • biff says:

      But a bad red card is okay to help Madrid, a team I love, by the way, and if people complain about the integrity of the game being tarnished they are crying about it.

      • Francois says:

        What are you talking about? I was saying that Diego Lopez faking an injury tarnishes the game. How does what you said even apply to my comment? Chill, man.

  23. RB says:

    See if Warren Barton can squeeze in 1-2 more comments about how the ref gave RM the match…

    • Conrad says:

      Is that who the British homer is? I was watching the stream. My God, you’d think we witnessed an envelope of hundred-euro notes being passed. He all but said the referee had an agenda against Man.U.

  24. asdf says:

    ref ruined the game

  25. Shark says:

    Here you go again:

    Ives Galarcep ‏@SoccerByIves
    The ref blew this game with that red card, but Real Madrid was ruthlessly efficient in taking over. Credit to Diego Lopez for some BIG saves

  26. beachbum says:

    as a spectator with no horse in the game (do not like either team), the red was harsh imo and saved RM’s bacon; Nani never saw him. two very nice goals since by RM

    ok A, blast away on me now

    on Gus Johnson, more comfortable on his second half call. I think he’s fine and gutsy for doing it,

  27. A says:

    Learn the rules.

    Intent? Doesn’t matter.
    Where his eyes are pointing? Doesn’t matter.

    Nani did something extremely reckless and paid the price. Stud to chest. Red. End of story.

    • Shark says:

      I think you need to learn the rules…

      Dude its not end of story….the fact you want to end the conversation tells me you know we are right and you are more than likely a Real Madrid fan….

      Heck even Ives who owns and runs this sight disagrees with you….here you go again:

      Ives Galarcep ‏@SoccerByIves
      The ref blew this game with that red card, but Real Madrid was ruthlessly efficient in taking over. Credit to Diego Lopez for some BIG saves

      • A says:

        “A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play”

        Straight out of the FIFA rule book.

        Studs at chest height and leaving the ground endangered the safety of the opposing player.

        End of story.

        • Shark says:

          Problem is you do not understand the rules….oh and did I tell you Ives disgrees with you….I’ll give you this you are a Real Madrid fan because everyoen will note you have not denied that…and your passion for sticking up for your team is nice to see….now you understanding of the game leaves a lot to be desired…time for you to go back to school….:)

          Ives Galarcep ‏@SoccerByIves
          The ref blew this game with that red card, but Real Madrid was ruthlessly efficient in taking over. Credit to Diego Lopez for some BIG saves

        • beachbum says:

          I know the rule. it wasn’t even a tackle

        • shaggie96 says:

          Is an attempt to trap a ball the same as a tackle? A tackle implies intent. I haven’t seen the play, I’m not arguing either way, just pointing out a possible exception to the rule you’ve cited.

      • bryan says:

        dude, just because SBI thinks it doesn’t mean it’s gold. why don’t you have a conversation with your own words. and reasons why YOU think it wasn’t a red. specifically.

        • Shark says:

          There was nothing reckless or dirty about that play…yellow card at very worst….

          Oh and lighten up I was having some fun with ‘A’….the Real Madrid fan…..

          • bryan says:

            ok, but have fun once. trolling annoys other people other than the trollee.

            i agree it was not dirty but it is reckless because he MISSED. which is why a yellow card was needed. the red is overly harsh in my opinion. but my point is it is within the rules because his studs were chest high and went into the player.

        • Mike Lamb says:

          In my opinion, reds are reserved for either intentional conduct or wantonly reckless conduct. This was neither. It was a fairly standard effort to trap a high ball where Nani didn’t know there was anyone nearby. Yellow card and everyone moves on.

          • Shark says:

            And I agree with you….

          • beachbum says:

            Mike Lamb, I agree

          • bryan says:

            yeah, and the ref thought it was reckless conduct because his studs were left up chest high after missing the ball. resulting in the studs going into the other player.

            being a “standard effort” does not matter. you have to EXECUTE any move correctly when you are going studs up. and i could CARE LESS if he knew someone was around him or not. of COURSE there will be someone near him. it’s the 2nd leg of a CL game…you don’t get free time on the ball.

            i agree it was harsh and the ref interpreted the foul overly harsh, but i still think he was within the boundaries to give the red.

    • Mike Lamb says:

      Ya, I just watched the video. There was absolutely nothing particularly reckless about that play. He’s trying to trap the ball like any player would in that circumstance and had zero clue that Arbeloa was behind him. The difference between what actually happened and your description of the play is startling.

      • bryan says:

        in case you are not aware, simply because he does not KNOW there is someone behind him does not mean he can get away with a high kick, which he MISSED. intention does not matter. him having no clue about his surrounding when going studs up that high, that’s his problem.

        i think most agree it was harsh because usually when we see that, the person is out to hurt the other player intentionally. Nani was not. but unfortunately, he was late, he missed the ball, and his high studs went into the chest of arbeloa.

        i agree it was harsh, and clearly affected the game, but i don’t think the ref was out of line.

        • Mike Lamb says:

          I understand that the lack of awareness doesn’t change whether there was a foul on the play, but it should factor into whether a red/yellow card is issued. To act as if intent isn’t a factor in determining whether additional penalties are involved is silly. I mean that’s the very concept behind a yellow for a “professional” foul.

          • Shark says:

            You nailed it with this:

            To act as if intent isn’t a factor in determining whether additional penalties are involved is silly. I mean that’s the very concept behind a yellow for a “professional” foul.

          • beachbum says:

            Mike Lamb, well said again

          • bryan says:

            I disagree. A lack of awareness does not give you a free pass to play the “intent” card. That’s a very slippery slope to go down. Intent or no intent, dude guy went up high with his studs up at full speed. He missed and his studs went right into the other player. Well within the rules to be called a red.

            Most people agree it is a harsh red, including me, but the conversation seems to have moved away from if it was harsh to why there is no possible way it should EVER be a red. and that part i disagree with. i can see how the ref thought it was a red.

  28. YO says:

    ManureU — was goes around comes around! Glad to see them out.

  29. A says:

    Straight from FIFA:

    “A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play.”

    Going in to a 50/50 ball with your exposed stud at chest height and leaving the ground is absolutely endangering the player. That was extremely dangerous and he missed the ball completely and made full contact with the player.

    You don’t get to decide what rules to follow because it fits the narrative. Don’t want to be red carded? Don’t commit a red cardable offense. Referee did his job. Nani did not.

  30. Dinho says:

    NEVER a red card, especially in a game like this. Intent DOES matter. Completely changed the game.

    Nani and United got hosed. Great goals from RM, but who knows if they have those chances if the ref didn’t alter the game in such a way.

    • Shark says:

      You nailed it…..

    • A says:

      INTENT DOES NOT MATTER

      • Shark says:

        Yeah it does…and if you understood soccer you would know that….read the post from the retired ref above…he disagrees with you too…..

    • bryan says:

      intent does not matter. you can read the rules. intent is included in the interpretation that every ref will make on every call they make.

      if i karate kick the air with the intent to get the ball, but i miss, and hit the player, that’s MY fault for not timing it correctly. and because i missed, i now endangered the other player.

      • Shark says:

        You can honestly tell me with a straight face that refs do not consider that when making a decision? Serious question….because we both know they do….we see it all the time on handballs in the box (example) and should they be a PK or not? And that is a fact…

        • bryan says:

          i agree with intent regarding handball. and i’m not saying intent is NEVER taken into account. but this idea that because he INTENTION was good, he doesn’t deserve a card. i think that is BS. if he goes in with his studs up chest high, at full speed, and then misses the ball and hits the player, it’s a foul. and it’s well within the rules to call that a dangerous play and to issue a red. i still think it was harsh, but the reaction is ridiculous.

          if a mexican player did that to a usa player, this site would explode with how the CONCACAF ref is biased and how that should have been a straight red.

        • Pirithous says:

          The irony in your comment, of course, is that the FIFA law for handling DOES specifically and explicitly mention intention; in fact, there is no such thing as an infraction for unintentional handling.

  31. Adam says:

    God knows Man U has never had a questionable call go in their favor…

  32. Shark says:

    Retired referee Dermot Gallagher on BBC Radio 5 live: “[The decision was] harsh to say the least but in fairness the Real player did Nani no favours whatsoever. At worst Nani catches the underside of his arm, certainly not the ribs as the guy has gone down and shown.

    “I can’t reiterate enough that he [Nani] is watching the ball over his shoulder, there was no malice in him. At worst it was a yellow for dangerous play, but if I was refereeing that game I cannot se what stretch of the imagination where I would have sent him off for that.”

    • beachbum says:

      pretty obvious to most of us with no skin in the game

      • Shark says:

        Yup….yet we have this fellow called ‘A’ who is making a fool of himself on this thread and all because of his love for Real Madrid…

        • A says:

          You’re making a fool of yourself and you don’t even realize it.

          Your feelings don’t matter. The rule matters. I have facts on my side. You’ve got warm cuddling feelings of some inbred homerism.

          • Shark says:

            Really…you need to stop looking in the mirror…its you, you are seeing being foolish….not me….

            You have facts on your side? really? I suispect there are a buttload of people who disagree with you…including a ton of refs…

            Homerism? I’m neither a United or Real fan….but you sir are a Real fan and its as obivous as the nose on yoru face…which you have yet to deny….

            Anyway you have a nice evening while you celebrate your clubs win….:)

          • Mike Lamb says:

            Except the rule that you are citing is basically for a run of the mill foul…not the standard for giving a straight red.

  33. Shark says:

    Jose Mourinho to ITV Sport: “Independent of the decision, the best team lost. We didn’t deserve to win but football is like this.

    “I am not speaking about the decision as I am not sure about it. Independent of that, the best team lost.”

  34. A says:

    Roy Keane: I think that is the right decision. It is irrelevant if Nani meant to do it. He should be aware of the players around him.

    I know it’s a red because I’ve actually read the rules unlike this Shark clown posting what other people think and making up rules.

    But for your sake–if Roy Keane thinks it’s a red card. It’s a red card.

    • Shark says:

      Yet you said above you care less what David Moyes said….but is okay because Keane agrees with you….that is rich on your part…go figure…you have big ones…I’ll give you that…

      I’m a clown….really? You need to go look in the mirror….because you have no clue what you are talking about….and so you resort to a personal attack on me….because you can’t sell your opinion….I’ve probably played, coached and yeah been a ref longer than you have been alive…the only one you are making look silly is yourself…Mr Real Madrid fan…

      .

      • A says:

        I quoted the rule and the entire rule.

        You have??? Nothing. You have nothing. Your “feelings.” You feelings aren’t reality. Your feelings aren’t fact.

        The rule says red card. The rule says intent doesn’t matter. The rule says I am right and you are wrong.

        Face it.

        • Shark says:

          I’m done trying to reason with you….its obvious you are wrong in this case and its also obvious you are a Real Madrid fan which you have never denied…..

          Yeah I’ve faced it you don’t understand what you are talking about…so you resort to calling someone a clown like a 5 year old when you don’t get your way….

          When you figure it out give me a ring and we can have a discussion…:)

          • A says:

            You aren’t reasoning anything.

            You are ignoring the rule.

            • Shark says:

              Problem is you don’t know the rule….just keep digging your hole deeper….you are really starting to look quite silly….Mr Real Madrid fan….

              • A says:

                FIFA explicitly states that intent matters when it comes to handballs and does not do so for reckless challenges.

                That is for good reason. Intent does not matter–only the reckless nature.

            • Conrad says:

              A is right. And I LOATHE Real Madrid. On the CL broadcast, the majority of the analysts agreed with the red. All said it was harsh; some said it was a yellow.

              It comes down to this: “Feelings,” which is an unfair characterization of Shark’s position, have a LOT to do with refereeing. Until they don’t, because they’re not in the rules. That’s why many people are complaining about this. The referee is not wrong — and he is certainly not an agent of Madrid — but very few referees would have made that call. Webb didn’t, you know.

          • downintexas says:

            So shark I’m guessing you are a ManU fan?

            Give em hell A

          • Pirithous says:

            The rules are not clear on this; it is not as simple as just quoting the rule. The grounds on which this was a sending off was the (deliberately) vague description “serious foul play” from law 12. Determining whether this was, or was not, serious foul play is at the heart of the debate here, and it is a matter of the referee’s discretion. Personally I think if you are at the full run and you bring your boot up that high and then make contact with another player, that is a pretty serious offense. But, I can easily understand if a referee (like the one quoted above) decides that there was not severe contact and the player was being foolish rather than malicious, and so a yellow suffices. I personally would probably have given a yellow, not wanting to unbalance the game.

            The only thing beyond dispute here, however, is that it is NOT simply a matter of quoting the law and then insisting that it is an open and shut case either way.

            And, everyone knows that A is not a Real Madrid fan, he’s a Barcelona fan. There has not been a running commentary on a European Barcelona game yet in which he did not insist that at least 1, sometimes 2 or 3 of the opposition players should have been sent of.

  35. Dudester says:

    At this rate the only person that can resolve the debate whether it’s a red or not, the great Pierluigi Collina.Greatest of refs we await your decision.

  36. WG says:

    This from Roy Keane: “I think the referee made the right call. It’s dangerous play … whether or not he [Nani] meant it is irrelevant. No doubt about it, it’s a red card. It was the right decision.”

    • WG says:

      FWIW, I don’t support either team.

    • Shark says:

      And I can post 10 more comments from other great soccer figures that would disagree witth Roy Keane….so we can tit for tat all day long….

      • WG says:

        True. For historical familial reasons, I really despise Real Madrid(Civil War, Spanish), so I don’t have a dog in the hunt. Besides, what we say here alters nothing.

        For laughs, here’s a real red card…link to youtube.com

  37. Jake says:

    A – you left two letters off you name – because everone who knows the game knows
    it was not a red – He is going for a trap – looking away, no red. Even my 8 yr old called
    it, no intent. What is amazing is on the heels of the U20 US – Mexico game, that is
    two games in a row where the horrendous officiating has had a direct impact on the outcome of
    a game. Now as I told him, Manchester should have scored on multiple opportunities they had
    and we don’t know if US would have scored on the two penalty kicks they should have gotten.

    • Shark says:

      Wait…he has facts on his side…:)

      But I agree with you….beause you actually knwo what you are talking about…:)

    • A says:

      Who cares what he is doing? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where he’s looking. It doesn’t matter what his intent is.

      His foot was in a reckless position, he missed the ball and he put his cleats in someone’s chest. Period.

      You don’t get to decide what his intent was because it doesn’t matter. He put himself in a reckless position, endangered the opponent and he was punished according to the rule.

      Whether or not he knew the other player was even there is irrelevant. The rule explicitly states that it’s a red card.

      Seriously, if you don’t think his cleat being chest height is NOT reckless then re-read the rulebook.

      • Jim says:

        “Reckless” in the laws of the game is a yellow. Specifically. The laws are posted on fifa’s site, you can look them up.
        For it to be a red, it also needs “excessive force.” That also is specifically stated in the laws of the game.
        That being said, no one is completely right about this. A lot is left up to the refs judgement on words like “excessive” and “dangerous.”

        • A says:

          “A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play.”

          That’s from the rulebook. If you’d like to argue that coming in with your cleat at chest height does NOT endangers the opponent you’re free to make that argument.

          You’d be wrong.

          Is it a harsh red? Maybe. But its a red. You should never have their studs that high around other players.

          • Jim says:

            From law 12 (pg 63-64), Serious Foul Play:
            “A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or bruitality against an opponent…”
            “…with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent…”
            That phrase shows up every time. Excessive force. There’s the argument.
            Now what referee license do you have that enables you to definitely tell anyone they’re wrong?

        • Dinho says:

          EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Dinho says:

            Wait, that was meant in response to Jim, not “A”

            I completely disagree with “A”…for the record :)

          • eric says:

            If his eyes up in the sky focusing on the ball, how does he know he’s got a player around him? How come bicycle kicks in the box never seem to get reds?

            • Conrad says:

              A bicycle kick that misses and hits a player in the head? That is a red. Or rather, it is a red if the referee chooses to call it.

            • A says:

              Just because a referee chooses to ignore the rule doesn’t make it not a breaking of the rule.

              If a cop decides to let you off with a warning when you speed–you were still speeding and you still broke the law.

              • Conrad says:

                Exactly.

              • eric says:

                Thats just it, I don’t believe there was violent conduct in either Nani’s attempt to trap the ball nor when someone goes for a bike in the box. If I was never speeding, I don’t deserve the ticket.

  38. A says:

    Look.

    It is a harsh red? Yeah, probably. Is it a red by the rules? Yes absolutely.

    FIFA laws explicitly state that intent matters in some instances such as a handball. It is written into the rule. FIFA elected to NOT write in intent when it comes to disciplinary measures in regards to reckless play that endangers other players/opponents.

    They implicitly stated that the intent does not matter when it comes to deciding whether or not a play endangered another player.

    A red cardable offense is defined by FIFA in one part by “serious foul play.” They also define that “a tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play.” The intent of the play does not matter because of many reasons–reckless is reckless and you can’t hurt someone and claim I didn’t mean to. They don’t want those plays in any way unlike a handball where it’s merely an infraction of the rules in terms of game flow and how you can play with the ball.

    Nani went into a 50/50 ball with his studs at chest height and to make matters worse he also jumped. Whether or not he saw the other player is implicitly irrelevant by the rules because his actions still endanger another player and plays like this can happen. And that is if you make the argument that he didn’t see the other guy coming in.

    FIFA implicitly, by not stating explicitly stating intent matters as they did in other rules, said that putting yourself in position like Nani did around other players does is not allowed and that your general awareness makes no difference because it is dangerous.

    So if you aren’t happy with the rules, that’s a fine argument to make. If you think it was a harsh I am inclined to agree. But the one argument you cannot make is that the call was wrong.

    • A says:

      Hit post before I could reedit some of those sentences taking words out, but the gist of it is the important part.

    • downintexas says:

      The only opinion that matters is the actual ref in the game. He called it a red, so therefor it is a red. Everyone who is moaning about the red are most likely ManU fans.

      • JeffP says:

        They also ignore the fact that United were unable to get the ball beyond Lopez, only tallying through an own goal. Yes, it was all the ref.

    • away goals says:

      I think the red card is defensible though harsh.

      But all of A’s copy/pasting of the “a tackle that endangers the opponent” is hardly an airtight argument in favor of the official’s decision.

      Using that as the sole basis for determining serious foul play would turn nearly all tackles into red card offenses. Anytime two players come together at high speed the result is a tackle that endangers one or both parties. Even those that would be universally agreed upon as “clean” or “full-blooded” challenges.

      So since very few tackles actually result in red cards, it’s obvious that the degree of danger (and yes, intent) is taken into account.

      • A says:

        I don’t disagree with you.

        I think it’s a vague definition. But it is the rule.

        But can you not agree that putting your stud at chest height and another player coming it to chest the ball is not the same as players coming in hard at each other? In Nani’s case he endangered another player and not himself. He chose to put his foot that high and as a player–claiming ignorance to awareness around you is not a defense.

        • away goals says:

          Again I agree that a red isn’t an outrageous decision. I think most of the vitriol aimed in your direction is based more on your general madridness. Which is for sure a real word.

          As for the foot to the chest, it’s still degrees. Was it a direct hit (de jong vs xabi alonso) or was it a glancing blow? Was it even intended as a tackle (in which case nani would brace for contact and inflict more damage) or was he simply raising his boot to delicately bring the ball out of the air?

          This is why using any kind of “Letter of the Law” argument is bound to be unconvincing.

          Also, as bad as a boot that high looks, it’s probably less dangerous to hit somebody in the gut with studs up than to hit a planted leg. And that’s coming from a doctor*.

          *not really a doctor

          • JeffP says:

            The vitriol is from two or three United supporters, mostly from one. I think if you look back, the majority of commenters in here support the red decision for one reason or another.

    • Thebumswillalwayslose says:

      I agree with you that it was certainly within the referee’s right to issue a red in that instance based on the section of Law 12 that you’re quoting. However, just before that in Law 12 it says:

      Careless, reckless, using excessive force
      “Reckless” means that the player has acted with complete disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent.
      • A player who plays in a reckless manner must be cautioned
      “Using excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent.
      • A player who uses excessive force must be sent of

      By that interpretation, you could very well argue that Nani’s actions were the textbook definition of reckless and thus he should have been shown a yellow.

      Now, whether the “serious foul play” interpretation supersedes the above reckless interpretation I don’t know. Someone who’s more well versed in FIFA rules than I am would need to clarify that. However like I said, I certainly don’t think you can say that the referee was wrong to issue a red. The only clear issue here to me is that if you’re looking for someone to blame for this incident, the only person you can look at is Nani. Anytime you go studs up at that height, you’re asking for the referee to make a decision.

      • A says:

        Yeah, I think you’ve got it right and it’s what I’ve been trying to say. The rule states that the referee is legally allowed to give a red card.

        I’m tired of players not getting any blame for their actions. Nani puts his studs into an opponents chest and the story is “referee ruins game.” How about Nani does something really, really dumb?

    • Increase says:

      If you approach it from a pure safety angle rather than a matter of fairness. It is or at least can be a red card. The damage he put himself into position to do could be broken ribs etc. Just because he was lucky enough not to hurt anyone doesn’t make it not a red or a yellow.

      The NFL for example has quite a few rules that are not fair but ensure safety.
      Think of rules regarding the Kicker. You are basically not allowed to touch him. You “can” but the chances of success are low. You can throw your feet around at chest level but you shouldn’t complain when you accidentally hit someone.

  39. Nick4235 says:

    Alright, both sides of this argument have brought forward credible and very intelligent soccer minds who have given their opinion on this matter. To me it looked a harsh red card seeing as there was no intent at all and Arbeloa came from his blind side and ran in front of him. Both players made an honest attempt at the ball in a 50/50 challenge and what a surprise, one came out worse than the other. That happens every 50/50 challenge. Now I can hear it now , “but intent doesn’t matter!” And while this is technically true 9 times out of 10, Nani escapes with a yellow and a talking to to be careful. Refs have so many rules, most of the calls they make they use a bit of common sense. Especially seeing as Arbeloa wasn’t hurt I didnt see why a red needed to be a sending off. As much as people wish refereeing was an exact science, it’s not and people need to be aware of that.

    As for the person who mentioned the fact that this ref sent of Edu, I don’t think match fixing is the case but this could point to the fact that this ref isn’t afraid of getting his cards out.

    Again I’d say 9/10 times this is a yellow and no more which I like cuz I’m a very “let the guys play” type of fan. Mourhino and the RM players reactions also allude to the fact they also thought it was harsh. Just my assessment of the situation.

    • Pirithous says:

      9 times out of ten yellow is really doubtful. I can’t remember the last time I saw a player go up that high, miss the ball, hit another player, and only get a yellow. This is not the sort of play one sees every day, or even at all routinely. The closest analogue is the notorious DeJong vs. Alonso play in the world cup. That was only yellow, true, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anyone who thinks that should not have been a red.

      Any other examples anyone can think of?

  40. golfstrom says:

    Strange no one is talking about Rafael’s handball on the goalline. And by ‘strange’ I mean ‘not strange’.

  41. biff says:

    On his Twitter account he only follows a bunch of Turkish teams except for Madrid, Ronaldo, Barcelona and Messi. How sweet that he could watch one of his favorite players and teams from the playing field.

    link to twitter.com

  42. joe says:

    i dont think it was a horrible red card. nanni leg was a little high and he knew the guy was there going for the ball as well.

    i actually thought the 2nd vidic header where the goalie hit him in the face was a penalty. i also disagreed with the foul on sergio ramos in the first half where rvp went down. higuien put it in the net but it apeared people heard the whistle and stoped playing.

    also this notion that man u would of definitely won the game if not for the red card. its just not true, all madrid needed was 1 goal to tie and they got plenty of offense.

    i did not like man u choice of team at all. nani has barely played this year, they also have better players than cleverly. giggs has been kicking ass last month or two so i can understand playing him, but overall i thought the lineup for the first leg was the better team.

  43. joe says:

    another point is did anyone see the red card ibra got vs valencia in the first leg. ibra was stationary and stabbed at the ball with his foot (kind of one of those moves that only he does) however he missed and got the guys shin. however it did not apear that hard or anything. and baboom straight red.