Wednesday 28 April 2010

Stamping Incidents at AFC Champions League Match in Adelaide

Match officials must be particularly vigilant towards the final minutes of a match, especially with a tight score line and increased tensions amongst players.

The following incidents occurred during the Adelaide United and Shandong Luneng Asian Champions League group match on Tuesday 27 April 2010. Adelaide are a goal down and are desperately seeking the equalizer. The match ended 0—1, but not without two stamping incidents.

The first incident is serious gamesmanship by the Shandong goalkeeper in the 89th minute. Adelaide #9 Van Dijk’s challenge was genuinely for the ball and he purposely kept his feet and studs down (otherwise he would have made contact with the goalkeeper and caused injury, especially with a studs up challenge), but the goalkeeper deliberately stamped on his opponent. Here are the freeze frames.

[Shandong Luneng goalkeeper deliberately stamps on Adelaide United forward's torso]

The second incident is also gamesmanship, this time by Adelaide (red) #18. It occurs in the 90th minute, straight after the first incident. Adelaide #18 (red player in the middle of the screen) deliberately uses his right foot to stamp on the goalkeeper’s left foot and then pushes his own teammate Van Dijk into the goalkeeper whilst keeping his right foot on the goalkeeper’s left foot. Here are the freeze frames.

[Adelaide United player #18 deliberately stamps on Shandong Luneng goalkeeper's left foot]

[Adelaide United’s Van Dijk is literally “caught in the middle” and the referee cautions him, while the real culprits of violent conduct escape]

Ultimately, Adelaide United’s Van Dijk is hard done by. He receives a caution, first, for being wrongly blamed for a confrontation with the Shandong goalkeeper (after the goalkeeper deliberately stamped on him) and, second, for being wrongly accused of pushing the Shandong goalkeeper to the ground (when it was his teammate who deliberately stamped on the Shandong goalkeeper). Will video evidence be used against the real culprits of violent conduct (i.e. the two stamping incidents)?

Related Posts (Stamp Out Stamping)

FA Hands Adebayor Three-match Ban For Stamp on van Persie

Emmanuel Adebayor Stamped And Kicked Robin Van Persie's Head

Belgian Player Gets 11-Match Ban For Shocking Horror Tackle

Strange Handling Incident at AFC Champions League Match in Adelaide

The following incident occurred during the Adelaide United and Shandong Luneng Asian Champions League group match on Tuesday 27 April 2010.

In the 58th minute, a strange incident occurred. As the goalkeeper collected the ball with his hands in his area, he proceeded to kick the ball upfield but the referee whistled for an infringement. Here are the freeze frames.

[Shandong Luneng goalkeeper clearly releases the ball from his hands inside the penalty area]

[A direct free kick is awarded to Adelaide United at the edge of the penalty area]

Apparently, the referee believed the goalkeeper had continued handling the ball outside the penalty area during the kicking motion. Restart was a direct free kick to the opposing team.

Other Bizarre Incidents:

Sunderland Goal Should Have Been Disallowed Due to “Outside Interference”

Indecisive Referee in Israel's Premier League

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Youth Triumphs Over Experience in Hong Kong Division Three Playoffs

Ten-man Sham Shui Po sealed promotion to Hong Kong’s second tier as winners of the third division playoffs by beating fashionable local side Eastern 2-1 on Sunday 25 April 2010.

The division three “B” (districts) league champions, composed mainly of players from Hong Kong’s national youth team, scored in the final seconds of an exhilarating match littered with ten yellow cards and one red.

Lau Cheuk Hin was the hero as he struck the match-winning goal for Sham Shui Po with a sweet left foot free kick from 25 yards that dipped and swerved into the goalkeeper’s bottom left corner.

Eastern, the division three “A” (clubs) league champions who last season came ninth out of thirteen teams in Hong Kong’s top flight before dropping down to division three this season due to financial pressures, were full of seasoned professionals but were eventually outclassed by youth and a skilful free kick.

The crunch match was passionate and competitive, if bad tempered, that boiled over at times. Five yellow cards were shown in the first half, which finished 1—0 to Sham Shui Po.

The second half continued in combustible fashion. Within 5 minutes of the restart tempers flared both on and off the pitch following a reckless tackle by Sham Shui Po player #2 on Eastern player #21. Ex-Hong Kong and Eastern winger Lee Kin Wo #11 and team captain Au Wai Lun #7 led the protests, and a mass confrontation ensued that served only to increase the hostile attitude between the two sides. Eastern players were insisting that the referee issue a card to the Sham Shui Po player, who was lying injured on the ground along with their injured teammate.

To be fair, due to the rules the referee had to wait for the player to get back on his feet before issuing a caution. This delay in showing the yellow card and the players’ lack of understanding of the rules sparked Eastern players and their supporters into the angry mass confrontation. Eventually the referee awarded a yellow card to Sham Shui Po player #2 and play continued.

A few minutes later, the referee sent off young Sham Shui Po forward Yeung Chun Kiu #24 for kicking out at Eastern player Sit Fai Lung #18. Sit, who was fortunate to escape punishment for his gamesmanship, used all his wily experience as a player in Hong Kong’s top division to stamp on Yeung without being detected by the referee. This is why the young forward retaliated.

Having reduced their opponents to ten men, Eastern exploited their numerical advantage and equalized in the 57th minute. Eastern continued to press for the winner while Sham Shui Po was content to soak up the pressure with the knowledge that a draw was enough for them to win the playoffs.

However, Sham Shui Po managed to finish off the match in style from a free kick in the final minute. The atmosphere in Happy Valley was buzzing as the core of Hong Kong’s national youth team celebrated the winning goal in front of local fans who were mostly present to support the more well-known Eastern team.

Sham Shui Po will be playing division two football next season. Eastern, although beaten and demoralized, will also join Sham Shui Po after finishing second on goal difference in the four-team division three playoffs.

Football fans can expect further fireworks when these two teams meet next season.

[Final standings of the 3rd Division League Playoffs]

Video Match highlights to follow

Monday 26 April 2010

Two-footed Challenges Are Considered Serious Foul Play

When two opponents are both within playing distance and challenging for the ball, referees must be alert that a player flying in with two feet off the ground and with studs exposed is using excessive force. This is what happened during the Premiership league match between Chelsea and Stoke on Sunday 25 April 2010. The match finished 7—0.

[Stoke’s Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen suffered a dislocated right elbow following a two-footed challenge by Chelsea’s Salomon Kalou]

Unfortunately, referee Steve Bennett allowed the goal to stand and Kalou to escape sanction. The following are some freeze frames of the incident from 3 different camera angles.

The two-footed challenge, viewed from whichever angle, tells the same story. That is, the Chelsea player (blue) used excessive force and should have been sent off for serious foul play.

Friday 23 April 2010

Offside and Consistency

The following incidents occurred during the Atletico Madrid and Liverpool Europa League first leg semi-final match on Thursday 22 April 2010. The match ended 1—0.

In the first half, Liverpool scored but the goal was disallowed due to the AR flagging for offside. The following two freeze frames show that the AR was well positioned but his split-second decision was incorrect.

[As Liverpool (black) pass the ball, the Liverpool attacker is onside]

In the second half, Atletico Madrid had a goal scoring opportunity from a similar passing situation but slightly further upfield. The following two freeze frames show that the AR is again well positioned and his split-second decision is correct.

[As Atletico Madrid (white/red) pass the ball, the Atletico Madrid attacker is onside]

For both non-offside incidents, the AR was well positioned and yet made the correct decision once. In the first incident, the AR is facing the field of play (i.e. he is sideways on) when he made the incorrect call; in the second incident, the AR has his head turned towards the field of play (i.e. he is running down the touch line) when he made the correct call. Are there any explanations and remedies?

Related Post

Offside and Optimum Officiating

Thursday 22 April 2010

Serious Foul Play and Good Officiating

The following incident occurred during the Bayern Munich and Olympique Lyon UEFA Champions League first leg semi-final match on Wednesday 21 April 2010. The match ended 1—0.

In the 38th minute, Italian referee Roberto Rosetti sent off Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery for serious foul play. Here are some freeze frames of the incident.

[Referee Roberto Rosetti had a clear and uninterrupted view of the challenge from Munich's Ribery (red#7) on Lyon's Cris]

[Reverse angle]

Although it may be argued that referee Rosetti did not have the optimum viewing angle, he is nonetheless close to the incident and has a clear uninterrupted view of Ribery’s approach to the ball. Rosetti was focused on the incident and had no hesitation in showing a red card to the offender.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Offside and Optimum Officiating

The following incident occurred during the Inter Milan and Barcelona UEFA Champions League first leg semi-final match on Tuesday 20 April 2010. The match ended 3—1.

Inter Milan's third goal (which may or may not prove decisive following the return leg at the Nou Camp next week) had a hint of offside to it. Here are two freeze frames of the incident.

[Inter Milan player (Sneijder; blue player near penalty mark) ‘misdirects his header’ and the ball is subsequently nodded in by his teammate (Milito)]

[Inter Milan's Milito may be offside when his teammate Sneijder heads the ball forward (reverse angle)]

Whether or not the third goal was offside is academic now. However, to reduce any doubts about the decision to award a goal, it would have been optimum officiating had the assistant referee (AR) been in line with the second-last defender. Take a look at the AR's position during the incident.

But considering the speed of the lead up to the goal (it was a fair challenge that opened up the Barcelona defence in the attacking third), it may have been nigh physically impossible for the AR to get in to the best position.

Related Posts

Europa League Optimum Officiating

Optimum Officiating: AFC Cup 2009 QF 2nd Leg part 6

Sometimes, Referees Have To Rely On Intuition Alone

Sunday 18 April 2010

Europa League Optimum Officiating

The following incident occurred during the Liverpool and Benfica Europa League second leg quarter-final match on Thursday 8 April 2010. The match ended 4—1, and Liverpool advanced to the semi-final stage with an aggregate score of 5—3.

These 5 freeze frames during a Liverpool corner kick show why the assistant referee (AR) may have thought that there was a touch by a first Liverpool (red) player before the second Liverpool player adjacent to the goalkeeper headed the ball into the goal. This was the decisive first goal of the match.

[In the 28th minute, the ball is flighted into the goal area. Is there a touch by the first Liverpool (red) player?]

Because the AR is unsure whether there was a first touch, he signals for offside. This is optimum officiating because the AR is doing his job and allowing the Referee to be aware of all concerns. By communicating what the concerns are, the Referee can weigh up all the available information to make a more informed decision (because the Referee may have been nearer the play and may also have had a better angle to see the flight of the ball).

Furthermore, because this is the Europa League, there is the added bonus of being able to communicate with the extra assistant referee (EAR) who may have had the optimum view of the incident compared with the R and AR. We can only assume that the R consulted both his AR and EAR, and awarded the goal on the basis that no one but the goalscorer touched the ball before it entered the goal from a corner kick.

In HKRef's view, the AR has done an excellent job. Unfortunately, the Liverpool fans standing behind the AR can only see the negatives in what is actually a moment of optimum officiating.

[Fans abuse the AR for doing his job admirably]

Related Posts

Europa League Penalty Kicks and Encroachment

Optimum Officiating: AFC Cup 2009 QF 2nd Leg part 6

Search for further examples of "optimum officiating".

Friday 2 April 2010

Europa League Penalty Kicks and Encroachment

In the 79th minute, there is a clear infringement during the second penalty kick of the Benfica and Liverpool Europa League first leg quarter-final match on Thursday 1 April 2010. The match ended 2—1.

Here's the second penalty in 3 freeze frames:

[Liverpool player (#32) tells the referee about the offending Benfica player, but the referee will just say that he did not see any infringement. "I didn't see it" is an excuse, but not a reason.]

Earlier in the 59th minute during the first penalty kick, there was possibly an infringement. However no matter whether or not there was an infringement, had the referee been better positioned then this "debate about a possible infringement" should not have arisen in the first place. Here's the first penalty in 2 freeze frames:

[Is the referee standing in a good position to deter or detect encroachment?]

These two incidents show that the referee Jonas Eriksson (Sweden) did not do enough to deter or detect encroachment during penalty kicks. Both times, the referee was watching the penalty kicker and did not have an optimum position to allow him a suitable view of the players behind the ball. At the very least, the referee should have stood several yards further towards the nearer touchline to at least be able to see (out of the corner of his eye) the players closest to his left side.

The larger issue here is that HKRef fails to understand the rationale in the positioning of the referee, especially since the Europa League is experimenting with extra referee assistants (EARs). It defies logic that the EAR and the AR are both on the goal line watching the goalkeeper. As mentioned in a previous post, it would make more sense if the EAR is positioned nearer the 18 yard line. In that position, the EAR can assist the referee to deter player encroachment.

This is just another point that questions the “usefulness” of the EAR.

Related Posts

Fine-Tuning Penalty Kicks for Europa League Referees

First Round of Europa League Matches: Five or Six Match Officials?

More Details About Europa League's Additional Referees Experiment