Yea or Nay: Real Madrid, Juventus, Buffon, Oliver

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There’s no perfect football team in the world and the game doesn’t even give you the chance to be perfect. This is no defense actually, but what went down at the Santiago Bernabeu last night raised many comments and this is just one of them.

In a similarly spirited show as in the game involving Roma, Juventus had completed a comeback in the second leg of the quarter final clash against Real Madrid, over-turning a first leg 0-3 deficit to an evenly poised 3-3 aggregate courtesy of two goals from Mario Mandzukic and another from Blaise Matuidi. Everything then looked set for extra time, then football happened and Real Madrid grabbed an opportunity to win it 4-3 on aggregate.

English referee Michael Oliver was at the centre of the most heated period of the game. With few seconds left on the clock, Oliver didn’t hesitate to point to the spot after Lucas Vazquez went down under a challenge by Mehdi Benatia.

As a result, controversy, which can’t be separated from football erupted and one of the coolest guys to have graced the game, Gigi Buffon lost his cool and was sent of for dissent or better still for shoving the referee. What looked like his last Champions League game shouldn’t have ended that way but the legendary goalkeeper could have done better, especially with his post match rage.

That was the storyline and whether or not the penalty was a right call has been up for heated debates across different platforms. By all standards, it wasn’t just a right call; it was a bold one by Michael Oliver.

Some narratives had it that he should have allowed play to go into extra time. Why? Because the fairytale of another comeback had become so tense and embroiled in controversy. Players play to the occasion like Lucas Vazquez did but it is the referee’s job to whistle for the moment. It needs to be pointed out that Vasquez didn’t simulate, he was in no mans land to control the ball and make his attempt on goal but Benatia made a risky clamp on him from behind and it was like buying a dummy.

Besides, if that was a foul outside the box, why not inside the area?

Of course Benatia must defend in that situation and the best way is to get to the ball first which he didn’t. Juventus dearly paid for a moment of lack of concentration. It had nothing to do with the referee being humane or the time left on the clock.

Ignoring that call would have been emotional on the part of Oliver actually. It was a penalty in the dying seconds of a quarter final clash, he could decide to give it or not. We’ve seen the former but we would never know which player would have fumed and got sent off if Oliver didn’t award that penalty.

Oliver didn’t kill the game. It’s humane to feel sorry for Juventus and Buffon too but to shame a referee in such a post match rage for a brave call is equal to messing up the game.

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1 Comment

  1. Micheal Oliver was just being a referee before being a football fan. It was a proper call, although not calling that would have been normal too.

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