07 March 2013

What Really went Wrong?

Summary of the game

Did NANI deserve to be sent off?

The stage was set. A 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu was in some ways a superb result, but a monumental task lay ahead. With Real Madrid hitting 'Form' right at the crucial time, the signs for united were anonymous.

But as Sir Alex mentioned, one should not overlook the threats posed by the excellent United attack amid all the hype surrounding the 'los galacticos' , especially the return of Uniteds prodigal son - Cristiano Ronaldo.

As the team news filtered out, the first shock of the night arrived. No Wayne Rooney. How? When? Why? Manchester United without Wayne Rooney? Especially after his cracking strike over the weekend? what was Fergie thinking? were some of the queries that jumped into mind. But the blind faith built up into United fans that anything Sir Alex does is correct, silenced these questions. After all he is the 'Boss'. The 'special one' himself was a bit coy, talking about his future and other stuff that makes the British media swoon around him like flies near a defecating horse. Oh well.

Kick Off arrived. Old Trafford was like a cauldron filled with red hot fire. The atmosphere was electric, the fans were jumping, flags, mosaics.... it was a sight to behold. No wonder every footballer who has set foot in Old Trafford talks fondly about it. The stadium was rocking. The stage was set.

The match followed a familiar pattern. United sat deep, allowed Madrid to attack. When the play broke, the trio of Nani, Welbeck and Van Persie caused havoc. With Carrick and the excellent Giggs orchestrating the play, United looked a real threat whereas Madrid's attacks pattered out without any fire. The first half ended with United having the front foot, but not having scored the deserved goal. The crowd were getting a little uneasy, but the game so far had shown that United could progress. and that was proved right shortly into the second half. Again havoc was caused inside the Real Madrid penalty area, with Van Persie and Welbeck having shots saved, but Nani recovered the ball and swept in a cross, which, via double deflection off Welbeck and Sergio Ramos, went into the net. United were all set to book a place in the quarters, with an excellent attacking and containing performance. Then pandemonium struck.

The turning point of the game                                    
The ball was cleared and Nani, innocuously looking over his shoulder, ran into Alvaro Arbeloa, who dropped like a hand grenade. foul? a talking to? a yellow maybe? Straight RED. Ah well. Flashback to the Rafael red vs Munich? What followed was astonishing. Sir Alex could not believe it. He barged into the fourth official, who had no explanation. Above all, regarding Nani, I don't for a second believe that he meant to kick Alvaro Arbeloa. What he did was reckless and dangerous and without doubt worthy of a caution, but he did not have any thought along the lines of 'I'm going to hurt someone here'. Not thinking about what you do and actually hurting someone is practically a definition of the word 'reckless.'

Even if referees - and refereeing bodies - feel that this sort of thing is worthy of dismissal, I honestly think they are missing a trick by not involving players in the discussion. You can tell by their body language that no Real Madrid players were expecting nor demanding a red card. Players think differently to referees - in fact they also think differently to fans - and they have an instinctive feel for fair play, for the most part. I feel certain that if 1,000 players were polled, from all corners of the earth, that at least 90% would say this deserves a caution at most. And the surprising bit was the Turkish referee (Cuneyt Cakir), when looked up at twitter, followed only Real Madrid and Barcelona. And, this is the same guy who -

· Showed John Terry Red card vs Barcelona

· Showed John Terry a red vs Barcelona
Does this mean the referee did that on purpose? I'll leave it up to you to decide.

The result? United lost, even after a great push towards the end.
Did United deserve to lose? No.
Did United deserve to win? We will never know.
Did Real deserve to go through over the two legs? No(opinions may differ).
But in the end, it shows that no matter how much you prepare, if it isn't meant to be, then it wont happen.

The feeling of being hard done by will always prevail, but we are United. We will come back stronger and better. Believe.

Hope Dortmund go on to lift the Champions League.


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