A refereeing catastrophe – but unsporting nevertheless?

For those of you unfamiliar with the second Manchester United goal this weekend, I suggest giving it a quick view here before continuing, for the rest of this blog will make little sense without seeing it.

So, quite clearly, referee Mark Clatternberg has dealt with the incident extremely poorly. Perhaps understandably, he was unable to see Nani handle the football from his angle, but he should have rectified the decision having spoken to his assistant who clearly sees the offence. In turn, the assistant should have had his raised long before the goal.

Nani, scorer of the controversial second goal for Manchester United yesterday.

Despite the professional officials getting it wrong, few have levelled any criticism at the man who put the ball in the net – Nani.

Nani, had just dived in an attempt to win a penalty, a bookable offence. Then, like the fat kid at school who would threaten to walk off with the ball if he didn’t get his way, he has the audacity to stop the game using his hands – another bookable offence. Usually when footballers commit offences, they look a bit sheepish and run away quickly in the hope they avoid a yellow card. Not so, our Portuguese friend Nani.

Instead, knowing fully well that Gomes believes it to be a free kick he takes advantage of the miscommunication between the officials to poke the ball into the goal. For good measure, he then proceeds to celebrate like he’s just scored a screamer to win the game.

Did Nani have the right to play on? Absolutely. Was it bad sportsmanship? I think so.

Had Gomes not realised it was a free kick, he has the option to ping the ball upfield on the counter attack and Tottenham may get an opportunity to score, but as it is he believes it is a free kick so any impetus Gomes has gained from collecting the ball is removed. That he immediately drops it to the ground, makes it clear what he believes has just happened. Nani’s colleague Darren Fletcher also thinks it is a free kick and wants Nani to get back and help his defence, so it’s not just Tottenham who are confused.

Footballers doing the sporting thing, is perhaps not as common as it could be, yet it’s certainly not unheard of. Many will remember Paolo Di Canio catching the ball to stop a game of football for an injury as a classic example.

I’m not advocating players constantly going up to ref admitting every decision that might not be correct, but on something as flagrant as yesterday, it would have been refreshing to see Nani do the honourable thing.

Maybe it’s not fair for me to say having not had experience of what it is like to play in front of 75,000 people and feel the pressure to win at the highest level – but there you go, I said it anyway.

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Comments
3 Responses to “A refereeing catastrophe – but unsporting nevertheless?”
  1. Winters says:

    cracking as usual Landy

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