Monday, August 17, 2009
First, the Gold Coast v. North Queensland match (or massacre, if you like). A round of applause for Chris Beath for producing only a yellow card rather than a red one for Beau Busch when he upended Michael Thwaite in the box, for the penalty that gave Shane Smeltz his second goal. Yes, Busch was the last man, and yes, it was an obvious goalscoring opportunity. But, as I've mentioned previously, if the offence has occurred inside the box then the penalty is punishment enough. Beath went for common sense over the letter of the law, and credit to him for that.
Sadly, he deserves less credit for letting Robbie Fowler off with a talking-to after the North Queensland marquee man outrageously aimed his studs at Anderson's face late in the game. As so often in the A-League, genuinely dangerous challenges go unpunished. And one hopes that Fowler's star status didn't induce Beath to keep the card, of whatever colour, in his pocket. In all honesty, Fowler could have had few complaints had he been sent off.
On to Etihad Stadium for the exciting draw between Melbourne and Brisbane. Did Archie Thompson deserve his early booking for going down in the box? Hardly. Srebre Delovski perhaps felt the weight of the FFA's pre-season bleating about clamping down on diving, but Thompson got straight up and continued with the game; there was no anguished appeal or feigned agony. Such a reaction, to my mind, scarcely qualifies as "diving".
In the following day's Sydney v. Adelaide encounter, Steve Corica probably was fouled by Iain Fyfe when he went down in the area in the first half, but Matthew Breeze at least had the sense to wave the play on without producing a card; Corica, like Thompson, hardly made a dramatic attempt to milk a penalty.
Back to Melbourne, and it was sad to see yet another player receive one of those wretchedly petty yellow cards for removing their shirt during a goal celebration. Yes, Henrique was stupid to do it, and Delovski hardly had a choice in the matter, but it's high time for FIFA (via their IFAB subsidiary) to scrap this utterly pointless regulation.
As for the football, Gold Coast continue to impress. Their attacking trident looked settled and menacing once again, and their third goal was a strong candidate for the finest team goal since the A-League's inception, a gem of swift one-touch interplay. North Queensland, meanwhile, currently look as ordinary as their squad suggested they would be. But it's still early days.
Sydney? A good performance against Adelaide, but hardly an outstanding one. Adelaide's curious tactics meant that Lavicka's men were rarely threatened, and when Travis Dodd has such a poor game, you can take it as read that Adelaide are not at their best. Sydney's deciding goal, however, was beautifully constructed, and could give Mark Bridge a much-needed fillip.
As for the Henrique yellow card, that type of cards always make me laugh especially when you watch a bit of South American football and you often see goal scorers getting their second yellow card for removing their shirt in celebration – brings them back to earth so quickly.
Nevertheless, if that is true why make a blanket rule for every nation. Why not have a culture specific yellow card that is applicable for countries with a low tolerance for shirtless men instead of enforcing this for every country in the world
It appears GC are going to restrict their home crowd to 5,000. So they will win the championship and hardly anyone will see them.
Plus according to the C-M they are threatening legal action over the match review panel.
Is there a point to this team?
Both players seemed to shift to avoid the tackle, were successful in doing so, but then lost their balance or footing and fell.
The fact that neither of them appealed for the foul seems to confirm the absence of intent.
Intentional 'simulation' warrants a yellow card. I have no problem with that. However, I don't envy the refs who have to decide in a matter of seconds firstly whether the player was fouled, and then if not, whether he was taking a dive.
The easiest course is the Thompson route - no foul, player over, yellow card. It's not the right one, though.