October 31, 2010
A strange game at Old Trafford – largely even, with a frustratingly simple first goal conceded, and a ridiculous second, which should have been ruled out twice over.
Firstly, Kaboul does exactly what he did last week and gives away a free-kick in a foolish position. This week it’s even more ridiculous, as he has dived in to a challenge when United weren’t really making progress and got himself a yellow card.
As we line up to mark zonally (and notably without Crouch, who is an excellent screen), Nani whips in a beautiful cross.
The nearest man to Vidic is Assou-Ekotto – a mismatch if ever there was one. Vidic meets the ball, flicks it goalwards, and it sails into the corner.
So a couple of issues – firstly, the silly challenge from Kaboul, and secondly, the weird decision not to stick one of the centre backs on Vidic, who has a history of scoring headed goals.
Wes Brown flicks a ball over the top, into space for Nani to run into.
Nani gets away – Kaboul seems to clip his heels, which knocks him off his stride. He goes down late, due to the nature of the challenge and, for me, it probably is a penalty.
Believing that he will get a penalty for the foul, Nani grabs hold of the ball.
With the penalty not given, Gomes picks up the ball and throws it forward, ready to take the resulting free-kick (for handball). However, the referee has not blown his whistle – there is no free-kick! Gomes should know to play to the whistle.
Nani can’t believe his luck. He just walks up to the ball…
…and prods it past Gomes, before celebrating like he has scored the goal to clinch the Champions League.
A number of issues here too, and I’ll preface this by saying that I generally do quite like Mark Clattenberg as a referee, and I hope that this is just a very bad day at the office for him.
1. In my opinion, Nani probably should have had a penalty – Kaboul did clip his heels.
2. With no penalty given, the linesman should flag for handball (which he later seems to indicate that he has seen). The play should be stopped, Nani should be booked for deliberate handball, and Spurs should have a free kick.
3. Clatternberg seems to suggest to the linesman that he had seen the handball and played the advantage – I am a fan of not stopping play for the sake of it, and this is all well and good until Spurs clearly don’t have an advantage; when Nani touches the ball, Clattenberg should simply blow his whistle, and allow us to take the free kick, as would happen in the attacking third (a player is fouled, play goes on, the advantage clearly isn’t as advantageous as it seems, play is brought back).
4. Nani showing that level of bad sportsmanship and then celebrating in such a manner is in exceptionally poor taste.
5. Gomes cost us with his naivety.
We have history with Clattenberg and his assistants – of course the famous “goal that never was” was not his fault, as he could not see from his position, but it is somewhat unfortunate that he is involved in a controversial decision again.
Like I say, I personally think it should have been a penalty anyway, so I won’t moan too much…