Say whatever you want about any of the rest of the match, but it ended in the 56th minute with Nani’s absolutely ridiculous red card. I managed to watch only a few minutes longer, but was far to angry to continue. I was already having questions about the referee up to that point. He seemed to make just enough calls in United’s favor to keep you guessing, but that red card was his moment to really shine and make sure he got the spotlight.
With all of the recent talk of match fixing across the world, it’s interesting timing for such a massive call. Watching the replays clearly show that it probably was a yellow card, but Nani was obviously going for the ball having spun around to play it in the air. He has every right to go for the ball, it just so happened that Arbeloa was also going for the ball and raced into Nani’s boot. Sergio Ramos didn’t help matters standing there calling for a card to be shown.
The turkish referee, Cuneyt Cakir, completely ruined the match. Manchester United were winning the tie and looking like going through until he decided to let his own horrible judgement take over. Nani’s sending off completely changed everything, from the player’s reaction to the atmosphere in the crowd. It is unbelievable that something like this is allowed to stand in professional football, especially in such a high profile tournament like the Champions League.
It is my hope that this is looked into further, but I’m sure it won’t. Platini will remain seated in his comfortable office doing nothing to change the problems in the game, just continue to rake in more money.
Following the match Sir Alex Ferguson was not available for the press conference which was instead taken by Assistant Mike Phelan. You can watch his comments at Sky Sports, where I think he did an excellent job of toeing the line and saying what everyone was thinking, if everyone thinking it was actually being reasonable about it. “We all saw and witnessed a decision that seemed very harsh, possibly incredible, at that moment in the game.”