Two absolutely useless referees in charge of the Euro semi-final second-leg games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both constantly awarding petty fouls for all physical contact (outside the penalty area) both red-carding players for “technical” last-man fouls, with little or no malice or even intent by the offenders and no judgement required (or considered) by the official.
The difference; Man U / Ronaldo played so well, won their game so emphatically, that that game had few really tough game changing decisions for that ref to make. It didn’t matter whether he had the balls and the nous to handle it, his incompetence just spoiled the entertainment value of what was already a very entertaining game anyway – not least to watch the body language of Wenger and Rice – priceless pathos for the neutral not wishing to gloat.
The Chelsea / Barca game ? Like many, before Man U had so clearly deserved their place, and Barca had won so emphatically in their last domestic game, we were savouring the idea of a Man U / Barca final in preference to an all English affair. Chelsea would never have beaten Barca the way ManU demolished The Arse, they were never clinical enough, but Chelsea were clearly robbed by the (Norwegian) ref’s incompetence and lack of balls, and total lack too of any gumption from the assistant refs / linos. Even on a good day it’s hard to like the likes of Drogba, Ballack, Cole, Cech and Essien, so no need to condemn their reactions to the injustice – they’ll get what’s coming to them – but Chelsea didn’t deserve that, and neither did football fans throughout Europe.
[Post Note : Ironic after the furore in this round, that Man U simply failed to turn up for the final in Rome, leaving Barca / Iniesta to walk all over them …. oh well, funny old game – coincidentally reading Peace’s “Damn United” excellent riff on Cloughie at the moment – June.]