Wednesday, April 04, 2007

 

Kicking On - brief update

Another case of a ludicrously petty yellow card for playing on after the whistle, in this morning's rather turgid Champions' League quarter-final between AC Milan and Bayern Munich. And once again, it will have a significant impact.

Alberto Gilardino, running onto one of Andrea Pirlo's beautifully-weighted dinks over the top, forced his way into the box and lobbed the Bayern 'keeper adroitly. Yet the goal was disallowed for a (very marginal) offside, and Gilardino was booked. Significantly, he pointed to his ears after the referee had shown the yellow card. In the midst of a crowd whistling all the time, any coach would surely have expected Gilardino to complete the move if he wasn't 100% sure that it was the ref who had blown.

Gilardino is now suspended for the second leg, and with Ronaldo cup-tied and Pippo Inzaghi not at his best without a partner, Milan may find themselves sadly short of striking power in the return leg (in which they must score).

Back to the Gilardino booking. Again, the only conceivable pretext for such a sanction is to discourage time-wasting. Yes, Milan were 1-0 up at the time; but the incident occurred in the 53rd minute. Thirty-seven long minutes, plus stoppage time, from the end of the game.

Punishing a player for time-wasting at such a stage of the game is simply officious.

Comments:
It’s not just about time wasting it’s about petulance and ignoring the referee’s authority. In this case those reasons weren’t relevant also I thought Gilla was on side. From the replay he looked in line, he could have been offside but advantage has to be given to the attacker. As for his suspension, I doubt it will have any impact on Milan, he has been woeful in all competitions but especially in the champions league and Kaka will be expected to carry the attack in much the same way no matter who is playing up front. It might even mean that Gourcuff is played alongside Kaka without an out and out striker (ala Roma) which is a formation that may have some promise (although I think there is a higher possibility of Marco Borriello’s girlfriend being voted fan of the year).
 
...It’s not just about time wasting it’s about petulance and ignoring the referee’s authority....

Fair enough, but the axiom is the same - unless you're absolutely sure, in a goalscoring situation, you can and should play on, IMO.

...From the replay he looked in line, he could have been offside but advantage has to be given to the attacker....

Unfortunately, it never, ever is.
 
Not only is kicking the ball away about time-wasting, petulance and ignoring the ref, it can also deny the opposition the chance to take a quick free kick.

I didn't see the incident (damn channel-surfing between ESPN and SBS -- this morning was worse with an exciting England-Sri Lanka game adding to the mix), but Milan could have had a lot of players forward and been vulnerable to a quick counter-attack. I did see enough of the game to conclude that the referee was crap though.
 
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