Once again Pro-qualified referee Simon Fear looks in detail using explanations and pictures at the 2nd leg.
Barcelona –v- Real Madrid – Super Cup 2011.
Referee - Fernandez Borbalan
Venue – Camp Nou, Barcelona.
Attendance – 92965.
Whenever these two sides play each other in quick succession there is always bad blood which if past history is anything to go by makes this as stable as a cinder box. This match proved no different however Real Madrid must take the majority of the blame for the way the match deteriorated into a spiteful contest and fortunate not to see more players dismissed. Real Madrid continued to play the high pressure football of the first leg and again engaged in an aggressive, intimidatory tactics.
Barcelona opened the scoring after 15 minutes when Messi played Iniesta through on goal, Real Madrid appealed for offside yet the assistant got the decision absolutely spot on as Iniesta was onside by a couple of yards. Real Madrid equalised soon after in the 20 minute with a close range effort which upon inspection should have been ruled offside.
As the picture shows, when the ball is played into the Barcelona box Sergio Ramos stretches out to prod the ball home and gets the slightest touch. Ramos is onside and his involvement is perfectly lawful, however Ronaldo is in a offside position and gets his own significant deflection on the ball and into the net. The two touches are both hard to spot and it took several replays in slow motion to determine if or who made contact with the ball. The giveaway is Ramos wheels away in celebration of what he believes is his goal, confirming he made contact with the ball. Ronaldo also claims the goal, again confirming he made contact, however in real-time it would be almost impossible to make a correct decision.
Between the 27 and 41 minute Mr Fernandez Borbalan , who had managed the game well and had tried to use his judgement in dealing with the theatrics of Alves particularly, finally had no option but to caution Khedira, Iniesta and Xavi for reckless challenges where they slid into tackles and were late, yet made no attempt to pull out and each fouled their opponent.
In the 53 minute the game started to turn ugly. The ball was cleared high, Messi and Marcelo were the only two players near enough to the ball to challenge for it. Messi did not even attempt to win the ball, however as Marcelo jumps and deliberately kicks his right leg into Messi catching the Argentinian in the midriff.
Marcelo should have been dismissed Under Law 12 which states “Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play” Mr Borbalan failed in his duty to protect the players safety, and in awarding a yellow card his authority was undermined.
Pepe should also have been dismissed for three separate fouls between the 63 and 74 minute. Firstly he deliberately body checked Messi, turning his shoulder into Messi’s chest as the Argentinian played the ball past him. Pepe also threw a sneaky elbow at Messi which if seen would have warranted a red card, but as this went unnoticed he was cautioned and given a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
In the 66 minute at a Barcelona corner Pepe made no attempt to play the ball, instead he initially thrust his arm across the chest and face of Pique, as the Barcelona defender tries to attack the ball Pepe swings around by holding Piques neck until the Barcelona defender falls over. Mr Borbalan clearly see’s the incident but chooses to ignore it rather than penalize Pepe and award him a deserved second yellow card, and thus a red card.
Finally Pepe repeats his earlier foul by body checking Pedro, deliberately stepping across the Spanish player and turning his shoulder into the player making no attempt to play the ball. This also should have merited a straight forward yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
Between the 76 and 92 minute there were a further three correctly issued cautions by Mr Borbalan for Valdes (time-wasting) Ramos and Coentrao (both for deliberate late sliding tackles which clearly merited punishment). The game was becoming far more fractious and Mr Borbalan was starting to lose control after his confident opening to the match.
The game ended in controversy when Marcelo, who should have been dismissed earlier, launched into a dangerous tackle on Fabregas. The tackle ticks all the boxes for dangerous play, Marcelo was off the ground, he used the ‘scissor’ tackle which has been outlawed for some time and he used excessive force.
Marcelo was guilty of serious foul play under Law 12. “A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play”. Any tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play, Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play. Mr Borbalan rightly issued an immediate red card.
The game descended into a farce, players, substitutes and coaches became involved in a mass brawl in which both David Villa and Mehmet Ozil were shown red cards. Mr Borbalan obviously saw offences that he felt warranted red cards for both players and acted as he deemed appropriate.
Again, this match has become almost impossible to referee. The blame lies with both sets of players and the managers. Real are in the mould of their manager, they are a cynical, street fighting side who are aggressive and border on the violent. They will use any trick possible to win and any means are justified if it means victory. Kherira, Ramos, Marcelo and Pepe are the chief executioners who enforce their managers plans.
Barcelona are similarly in the image of their manager, they are more cultured, more sophisticated yet have a steely determination to win. They employ more subtle tactics and exploit gamesmanship to the extreme, exaggerating every contact, with Alves and Busquets infamous for their diving and cheating.