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Manchester United 1, Real Madrid 2: Match Highlights


  1. Sorry, I can’t agree that Nani should have gotten a red. Yes, FIFA rules make little distinction between intentionally fouling and recklessly fouling. However, though Nani had his boot way too high, his boot appeared to be nearly stationary just prior to contact and during contact with the other player. In other words, he did not appear to be swinging his boot or kicking at all.

    FIFA Law 12 is relevant here. It awards a free kick if a player “kicks or attempts to kick an opponent.” It follows that a “serious foul” should include a serious kick. With Nani doing so little kicking (or jumping at) the other player, at worst a yellow card is warranted. Agree or no?

  2. Loved the Randy Moss wave CR gave before his goal. He was totally “covered” but called for the ball anyway and delivered the goal. The cross was very impressive.

  3. I’ve watched the replay of Nani over and over and it’s really a tough call. The play really did put the referee in a touch situation. He has a split second to make that call while we have the ability to view and slow down the play multiple times. I,honestly, do not know how I would have called it. You see Nani look at the opponent a split second before the ball arrives and in that same motion the leg is at chest level. That may be where the ref determined “serious foul play”. But on the flip side, you could argue, Nani is initially facing his own goal and in one motion turns and jumps to receive the ball possibly not knowing exactly where his opponent was. Hard call to make. Fergie can moan all he wants but if the tables had been turned he might have a different tune.

    • “Fergie can moan all he wants but if the tables had been turned he might have a different tune.”

      Aye, there’s the rub. If a Real Madrid player did the same thing as Nani and was only given a yellow card, we’d still be hearing Fergie moaning and grunting about it (you can’t call the noises he makes talking) for the next three weeks.

  4. Everything in context. This took place in a fairly contested match, not an out of control game that needed to be quelled. Nani was not running about the pitch making reckless plays. Honestly, this was an isolated, fairly innocuous occurrence, with no intent from a player that had otherwise been in control. Bet some fans took bigger hits walking through the turnstiles. In a literal, dictatorial sense, there is most certainly room to interpret that as a red, 9 out of 10 times it receives a yellow card and a talking to. This is what a good, confident ref looking to manage rather than influence a big match does. I say this as someone who is NOT a fan of MU. Certainly buggered up a good match. What can you say? Agonizing, glorious, maddening, beautiful… is soccer and life.

  5. I can see why many may see this as a yellow and not a red. However, the rules in soccer are very vague. Further calls are not made based upon multiple camera views and slow motion replays. They are based upon split second real time interpretations. The ref does not have 30 seconds to go through pros and cons, add each up and come to a final verdict. The statements by some that the ref is bribed, stupid, both, and/or with lots of exclamation points are childish and show no knowledge of the game. There is no doubt this is a cardable offense. It is reasonable to interpret this as a red or a yellow under the rules. That is soccer. The player did a flying lunge and was out of control and could have seriously injured someone. Argue that it could have been a yellow, or that it’s a tad harsh, fine.He took a risk and his team paid the price.

  6. If raising a boot to chest level is reckless and dangerous regardless of circumstances and worthy of a red card, then every game should produce a few red cards. Bicycle kick would be completely gone from the game. For example, Ibra’s recent amazing goal against England should’ve been disallowed and Zlatan should’ve been shown a red card. Same for Rooney’s goal last season against Man City. Or Mexico’s U20 winning goal against the US last Sunday. Or Honduras equalizer against the US in the recent qualifier. All those goals should’ve been disallowed and players redcarded because of high boots.

    • Not sure that supports the argument. A bicycle kick that results in a goal is a goal. A bicycle kick that results in a direct smash to someone’s face is a yellow or red. It’s a risk.A powerful slide tackle where the cleats hit all ball is a great tackle. A powerful slide tackle that goes over the ball studs up in an opponents leg is a yellow or a red. Bottom line, if you are taking a risk you had better be good, lucky or both. Otherwise you might get carded.

      • I don’t think touching an opponent really matters according to the rules. You can be careless, reckless, dangerous (the words FIFA uses) without actually touching an opponent. Just like driving drunk is reckless and dangerous regardless of whether someone got hurt.

      • This is what FIFA says:

        “A scissors or bicycle kick is permissible provided that, in the opinion of the referee, it is not dangerous to an opponent.”

        If they had put a period right after “permissible”, there would be no argument there. However, adding “in the opinion…” doesn’t clear anything up at all. And what if a player doesn’t challenge a bicycle kick precisely because he’s afraid he might get seriously hurt?

        No, FIFA’s clarification doesn’t clarify anything.

      • The point you are missing is that there are many actions that could be very dangerous (like a bicycle kick or Nani’s attempt to trap the ball) or not very dangerous, depending on the circumstances. It makes a great deal of difference whether another player is challenging for the same ball or if Nani has plenty of space when he makes his attempt to trap it. In youth rec leagues, things like high kicks, playing while on the ground, and slide tackles are often deemed inherently reckless and therefore not allowed as dangerous play. As the competition level goes up, more “dangerous” behavior is allowed, but only if it is not actually endangering a player. The referee is the judge of this. I fail to see what is confusing about it, since 90% of the FIFA laws depend on the referee’s discretion.

  7. I hate it when a 1/2 baked and poorly chosen referee like this idiot blow the call and totally change the game. It was indeed a travesty. At worse Nani gets a yellow card. As a referee myself, there was one major factor missing MR Idiot, it’s called deliberate INTENTION , and clearly there was 0 intent on Nani’s behalf therefore I suggest you go back to Turkey and get retrained.

    • It looks like it’s time for you to get recertified. As has been pointed out over and over, reckless, dangerous, serious foul play does not need to include intent to harm. Intent to harm can be an exacerbating factor, but it is not a necessary one. Certainly the notion of intent being necessary for a red card is nowhere, at all, in the FIFA laws. It is there for handling, it’s not there for serious foul play.

      The red card is not as clear cut at all as it’s defenders try to make it seem, but the idea that, since Nani didn’t mean to stick his cleats into Arbeloa’s chest, he is not responsible for the consequences of raising his boot up and flying through the air, is absurd.

      • Agreed. When people make those arguments I always ask, ‘What happens if the player is seriously injured?’ Then they rethink that red card.

        A lot of people seem to think that if a player isn’t hurt it must not be ‘that bad’ of a foul, and not deserving of a red card. With a studs up high kick you can seriously hurt someone. It’s a dangerous play. If THAT isn’t a red card, then players would do it a lot more often.

        Plays like this should be a red everytime. If flying through the air high kicking with your studs exposed, planting them into another player’s chest isn’t a red card, then I don’t know what is.

  8. Fergie gets steamed over every call that goes against Man U, but Nani’s red card was a travesty. Completely undeserved. He was watching the ball the entire time.

    • I am genuinely confused by the way people say it should not have been a red card based on intent. Well, maybe confused is not the right word, because I get that there is no intent to harming the player. However, if you follow Fifa rules strictly, the fouling section does not contain the intent of the opponent (which is often talked about by commentators and fans as a defense or means to say the foul was worst). So intent cannot be used by the referee as a way to keep the player in or out of the game. The rule is stated in the books to try to remove some of the gray area that goes into being a referee for the game. A high kick is always a risky (especially if you are off the ground) because contacting another player will often be seen as a serious foul (which is how the referee saw it).

      The other defense, which may be related to the intent, but I think may be more valid is that both are going in the air from each others side. You could see the act as the other player initiating the contact by coming in slightly later than nani. But does that lessen the severity of a jumping high kick? Fifa rules state that anything deemed a serious foul must produce a red card. So as far as I can see, the referee had no choice if you deem it a serious foul.

      As for my thoughts on it, I am stuck in the middle between yellow and red simply because of the rules, but how serious of a foul it was is hard for me to guess.

    • Irrelevant and actually hurts your argument.

      It is the player’s responsibility to be aware of his surroundings and position at all time. You’re essentially saying that he went into a ball with his studs at chest height and did not take the time to make sure there were no other players around. That doesn’t help your argument and adds to the charge that his actions were reckless.

      It was reckless and his action endangered another player beyond what is considered normal within the confines of a game. The referee had every right to hand out a red card.

      Might it be a harsh red? I can see the argument. But it was by the book and there can be no complaint that he was carded for something by the rules is not a red.

      The FIFA rule book explicitly states in many cases that the intent of an action dictates the severity of the discipline–such as with a handball.

      The FIFA rule book intentionally left out the intent cause when it comes to determining discipline for tackles because a referee cannot judge intent. Nani’s decision to put his boot at chest height was reckless in any manner, and reckless by definition, is devoid of a necessity for intent.

      I can drive extremely fast on the highway and lose control of my car and hit someone else. I didn’t intend to hit them, but my reckless actions outside the confines of what is considered normal and allowed put me in that position and I have to suffer the consequences if something worse comes from those actions.

      In this case, Nani decided to raise his boot up to chest level to get a ball and he missed the ball. His stud went into a player’s chest and could have seriously, seriously injured him. His play was reckless and the moment he put himself in that position he opened himself up to possible consequences should something happen. Something happened.

      • I don’t disagree with what you’ve written, but is the implication that it’s okay to go up in the air like Nani did if you don’t make contact with anyone? I’m not trying to split hairs; I just know that I’ve seen players go high like that often, avoid contact with people and, obviously, not get called for a foul. It seems to me that Nani didn’t see him coming, so it was simply bad luck, much like it’s bad luck, to use your example, to drive over the speed limit when there is a speed trap nearby.

      • Here’s what FIFA’s rules of the game says about a similar subject:

        “Playing in a dangerous manner is defined as any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player himself). It is committed with an opponent nearby and prevents the opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.

        A scissors or bicycle kick is permissible provided that, in the opinion of the referee, it is not dangerous to an opponent.”

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