March 6, 2013 2:29 am
There can be little doubt that the red card awarded to Manchester United midfielder Nani was the key moment in the Red Devils’ 2-1 loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday — a defeat that ended United’s Champions League campaign.
But was the call correct? Yellow or red is never black and white.
Graham Poll, once one of the world’s top referees and now a columnist for The Daily Mail, showed how difficult the play was to judge when he managed to take both sides of the argument in the span of four paragraphs his postgame column.
He quickly got to the main talking point:
The Portuguese winger challenged for the ball with a raised foot and only had eyes for the ball but caught Alvaro Arbeloa. It looked like dangerous play and at worst a yellow card.
Yet two graphs later Poll wrote:
I understand that the protection of players and ensuring their safety is drummed into UEFA referees at all seminars and with Pierluigi Collina, the European referees’ chief, sitting in the stand, Cakir will have felt enormous pressure to follow those guidelines.
Those elite UEFA referees watching will not have been surprised at the red card but the English ones would acknowledge they would not have dismissed a player for the same offence in a Premier League game.
So it was clearly a yellow-card offense. But it’s not surprising that it was a red. Unless it was a league game at Old Trafford, in which case it would have probably been a yellow. Maybe.
The immediate reaction on Twitter was heavily against Cakir, probably in the knowledge that Nani’s ejection in the 56th minute — agree with it or not — had suddenly put United’s 1-0 lead in serious danger and potentially spoiled what had to that point been a thrilling, tight, clean game.
Other voices soon appeared to take the opposite view. Mark Mravic, a Sports Illustrated editor who is also a referee, quoted the Laws of the Game. “A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play,” he wrote.
It is, of course, left to the referee to decide, which was of course the whole point Tuesday. While the game raged on, with Real Madrid surging into the lead against now-10-man United, others joined in the debate.
Sam Borden, who covered the game for The Times, did not agree with Cakir’s decision, again according to the rules:
Others picked up on the growing wave of voices claiming that Nani should not have been sent off because he had not intended to injure Arbeloa, and in fact had not done so at all. Among those in that camp was the former United midfielder Roy Keane.
“The referee has made the right call,” Keane told ITV Sport. “It’s dangerous play, it’s a red card. He knows there are other footballers on the pitch and to be fair to the referee, he took a few minutes, spoke to his assistant and decided it was a red card.”
He added: “Any time I got sent off in my career, I always thought, did I give the referee a chance to send me off? If the answer is yes, then it is out of your hands. Everyone is upset about it and United are slightly unlucky to go out, but it’s dangerous play. Whether he meant it or not is irrelevant. It was dangerous play, red card.”
Keane is right about one thing: by lunging at Arbeloa with his foot outstretched, Nani had thrown himself on the mercy of the referee. Poll, to his credit, had warned in his pregame column that something like this might be coming. Praising Cakir as a top-flight official, Poll noted that the Turk had — bravely, given the circumstances, and without hesitation — had sent off John Terry for kneeing Alexis Sanchez of Barcelona in a Champions League semifinal last year, prompting an earlier round of vitriol from Premier League writers and fans.
Nani was born on November 17th, 1986 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nani
November 17th, 1986
11 + 17 +1+9+8+6 = 52 = his life lesson = Silencing his critics.
November 17th, 1986
11 + 17 = 28 = his core number = Unstoppable. Hero. Nothing is impossible.
November 17th, 1986
11 + 17 +2+0+1+2 = 33 = his personal year (from November 17th, 2012 to November 16th, 2013) = Fierce. Ferocity. Putting on a good show.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
his path of destiny = 20 = Referees. Cuneyt Cakir. Sanctions. Red card. You be the judge. Judge for yourself. “Was the call correct? Yellow or red is never black and white.”
predictions for the year 2013 are at:
discover some of your own numerology for FREE at:
learn numerology from numerologist to the world, Ed Peterson: