Friday, December 28, 2007


Law 12 and How to Misinterpret It - another update

So once again, a straightforward long ball over the top, combined with the pace of Alex Brosque, has resulted in Sydney FC gaining a man advantage for the majority of a crucial fixture. And in both cases, the numerical imbalance had a decisive effect.

Danny Vukovic did probably deserve his red card last week, but I'll risk excommunication from my Covite friends by suggesting that Robert Cornthwaite should not, in fact, have been red-carded in tonight's game.

Daniel Beltrame may have admitted at half-time that the decision was fair, given that Cornthwaite was "the last man", but as I've mentioned before, that's only half the story.

Here are those relevant words again. A player is to be dismissed if he:

…denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick…

The intent of the law was surely to punish players who cynically upended attackers either on the point of striking for goal, or ready to rush through the last line with a subsequent clear, direct path to the goal.

In the current case, the long ball that released Brosque saw him moving at an angle to the goal, with some work to do before he gained control of the ball and shot. Whether this constitutes "an obvious goalscoring opportunity" is open to debate, in my view.

And "moving towards the player's goal"? Again, debatable.

Combined with the minimal contact from Cornthwaite (although he should certainly have avoided making any contact), things were sufficiently unclear to make a yellow card the appropriate punishment, in my view. But it's surprising how often all debate is quashed the moment the "last man" idea comes into play. It is not the only factor in the decision.

What to make of tonight's game otherwise? For the second successive week, Sydney have started off in very indifferent fashion, before being given the run of the park by managers who have panicked after going a man down, leaving a forlorn lone ranger up front and withdrawing the midfield to within a few yards of the back four. A sure way to fill your opponents with immediate confidence.

And confident they looked for the rest of the match, Brendon Santalab having his best game for Sydney FC, Steve Corica looking as good as he has for months, and Alex Brosque unlucky not to score twice. Adam Biddle needs to work on his composure in front of goal, but I think he's shown enough this season to suggest that he's a good prospect.

Adelaide deserve some sympathy, given their dreadful injury problems, but ultimately they haven't shown as much fight as they did in the A-League's first two seasons, and it may well end up costing them a place in the final four.

Unfortunate that it will be Adelaide and Melbourne who represent us in the Asia Cup playing teams who have only just shown they are their country's best.

I agree with your post. And go further, just because Cassio dived it doesn't mean the foul on him wasn't a red. And Djite should have been allowed to continue his run on goal. A great shame for 25,000 Adelaide fans - the biggest ever attendance in that state for any football.

Still the goals in Sydney's games show they are out to entertain.
Ahh come on mikey....

Was there minimal contact? yes...did Cornthwaite grab Brosque's shirt? YES (however minimal, he did grab the shirt)....and was Brosque clean through on goal? YES

Yeah it was the softest of soft red cards, but it was definitely justified.
The big question is why did Adelaide play at that venue

Look i know its good to get a larger crowd it, but i think its more important to use a more quality surface.. that way we are more likely to see a better game (not that the game wasnt that bad but still)....

Hindmarsh is a quality stadium, quality pitch.. isnt it the only stadium we have that is built solely for football ?? At least in the A-league....
I have no Sympathy for Cornthwaite, when you do something stupid you open the door for the ref to interpret it as he sees fit. It's probably a yellow but there is enough grey area to allow the ref to give a red provided he's consistent (something most a-league refs haven't been). Refs are an easy target as they can't defend themselves; it's these types of situations where we need to back the ref for making a call allowed by the rules and criticise the player for making a stupid pointless foul.
...I have no Sympathy for Cornthwaite, when you do something stupid you open the door for the ref to interpret it as he sees fit. It's probably a yellow but there is enough grey area to allow the ref to give a red provided he's consistent (something most a-league refs haven't been)....

That's the whole point though, IMO. Because a red card is such a game-changing event, if there's any grey area then it should be a yellow.

Interesting to hear Skeletor's comments after the game (, in which he says, inter alia:

“I don’t think there was a need to pull him back…the ball was still bouncing in the air…I think he had ample time to just get behind the ball instead of making the foul…it wouldn’t have been a problem.”

Sounds to me very much like a subtle, I-don't-want-to-get-fined way of saying that it wasn't a "clear goalscoring opportunity".
it was black and white .
Of course it was a red but why did he grab him as he didn't need to.

I thought the ref and linesmen had poor games.
Sydney's 3rd goal was offside and what was wrong with Djite's challenge.

Young Mr Vidmar should have used Aussie Guus's tactics by putting on a fast player up front.

When Adelaide decided to play football they played well.

Sydney has had a lot of luck in recent games and it will dry up.

Brosque is always looking like he will score goals but rarely does
I agree with you about manager panic - dodd and pondeljak in the backs for any period of time would inspire any opposing midfield.
Mike, have been away for a few days but managed to catch the game at Husky Pub...thought adelaide were totally in control up until the send off, stretching syd through the use of the flanks, clever given the cricket pitch.

Was watching it with a Sydfc member and we both thought the send-off was a little soft (Brosque made the most of the contact) and that there was little difference between that incident and the Cassio one later.

Little doubt the send off altered the game, but for the second week running I was really impressed by the way sydney played a man up...they were very patient, kept the ball, kept switching it from side and side and forced adelaide to's easy in theory, but not many teams do it have, and i credit experienced heads like corica and talay for having the patience to put their foot on the ball.

I'm guessing there's been fewer complaints from Sydney fans about Breeze??
Who else thinks that sport has gone too far? I mean there is so much money involved in sport now that there is very little sport left anymore. Sport spread betting used to be frowned upon when I was a kid as it made people desperate for money to bet with but now it’s nothing compared to how disgraceful a footballer’s salary is! These people train a few times a week and play one game a week if they’re lucky and get paid a week more than I earn a year! And yet no authority has ever questioned it! Why!? There’s a minimum wage, why can’t there be a maximum wage as well based on the type of job? So all you betters out there, why don’t you start spread betting on how much players are going to be paid next instead of what used to be sport?
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