ANOTHER night, another European referee thinking it’s all about him.
Tuesday night’s Champions League tie between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich was a real thriller on the surface. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the perfect hat-trick – header, left foot, right foot – to create history and become the first player to score 100 goals in the Champions League, as Madrid won 4-2 after Extra Time (6-3 on aggregate).
However, the match will go down in history as one that was marred by several poor decisions that were made by the officials.
Referee Viktor Kassai (Hungary) came under huge scrutiny following the game after seemingly ruining any chance Bayern may have had of progressing through to the semi-finals of the competition.
First off, two of Ronaldo’s goals were scored from offside positions. The first of which (pictured below) should have been very clear to see for any linesman who is allowed to run the line in such a crucial match.
Before that, and this was the game changer for me, Arturo Vidal was sent off when he should not have been. On a yellow card, the Chilean midfielder was sent off for a challenge on Marco Asensio when he clearly got the ball with the substitute then tumbling over him.
In contrast, Madrid’s Casemiro was getting away with foul after foul on some of Bayern’s players (I counted at least four) and he was not booked for them.
It was not all against Bayern though. The German giants’ second goal, which took the tie into extra time, also resulted from an offside position even if it was eventually an own goal.
Bayern Munich manager, Carlo Ancelotti was understandably frustrated after the match, saying: “In a quarter-final you have to have, I don’t know, a referee with more quality.” Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane even agreed that Kassai had been obtrusive to the game’s overall flow.
I can’t help but feel that this is becoming an unfortunately regular occurrence in European matches nowadays.
The earliest example I can recall of a referee pretty much destroying a big European tie was when Norwegian official Tom Henning Ovrebo took charge of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final tie against Barcelona in May 2009. He made several mistakes that day and still, despite retiring, receives death threats from Blues fans over the decisions he made which cost them a place in that final.
This season in the Champions League, there’s been many a case of injustice being served up by the man in the middle.
Laurent Koscielny was wrongly sent off in Arsenal’s 5-1 second leg loss to Bayern Munich, at a time when they were 1-0 up in the match and playing well (Okay, so they probably wouldn’t have overturned the other 5-1 loss from the first leg but still a poor decision).
Then of course there was the infamous Barcelona-PSG tie that will live very long in many fans memories. 4-0 down in the first leg to win 6-5 on aggregate, Barcelona produced the mother of all comebacks in this one, maybe even the greatest European comeback of all times (Sorry Liverpool fans). But not without a little bit of a helping hand. Two controversial penalties awarded by the referee and his officials set them on their way. Suarez’s dive for the second was embarrassing but still deserved a penalty apparently. Ridiculous.
Players in European competitions are beginning to realise that they can play the referees and dive about and get people sent off.
I for one am pretty fed up of the bollocks. Then again, as an Arsenal fan I may not have to worry about European referees at all next season. Bliss!
All pictures used belong to rightful owners.