Mark Clattenburg argues Ashley Young’s challenge on Angel Di Maria was acceptable


Manchester United are faced with a mountain to climb in order to reach the Champions League quarter-finals after losing 2-0 at home to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suffered the first defeat of his caretaker spell in charge of the Red Devils, with Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe scoring PSG’s two goals inside seven second-half minutes.

Both goals were set up by Angel Di Maria, the former Man Utd player who struggled badly during his one and only season at Old Trafford several years ago.

The Argentine winger, who joined United in a £59.7 million move from Real Madrid in the summer of 2014 and was sold to PSG for £44.3 million 12 months later, was booed throughout the evening by the home crowd.

They believe that Di Maria failed to give his all when wearing the red shirt, particularly towards the end of his ill-fated spell at Old Trafford.

The biggest cheer from the United fans of the first half came in the 39th minute when Ashley Young barged his former teammate off the side of the pitch, sending him crashing to the turf.

It was a risky move and, in the eyes of many football fans, Young should have been shown a second yellow card, having already been booked earlier in the half.

Watch the incident here and judge for yourselves…

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has reviewed the incident and has explained why, in his view, it was correct not to show Young a second yellow card.

“Referee Daniele Orsato got it right — Young’s challenge on Di Maria did not warrant a second yellow card,” Clattenburg told the Daily Mail.

“The slope at the side of the Old Trafford pitch made it look far worse than it was. Had this match been played on a pitch surrounded by an athletics track, for example, the coming together between Young and Di Maria would have looked like an innocuous shoulder-to-shoulder challenge.


“Although VAR was in action last night, Orsato was not able to review this incident as second yellow cards cannot be checked.

“The referee got this call right — but got it wrong when sending off Paul Pogba at the end.

“The challenge was not a reckless foul and did not warrant a second yellow.”

That opinion is likely to raise a few eyebrows, although Clattenburg obviously knows what he's talking about.


In the same article, however, former Premier League striker Chris Sutton - not a qualified referee, it’s important to note - believes the incident clearly warranted a yellow card.

“That was a nasty, cynical challenge from Ashley Young on Angel Di Maria.

“He can count himself fortunate not to have been sent off last night. Shoulder-to-shoulder challenges may be allowed but when Young made contact, the ball had gone.

“There was no way either player was going to win it. Young knows that the touchline at Old Trafford slopes away and could have injured his opponent.

“There was nothing to be gained in this situation. Already on a yellow card, Young risked getting sent off — reducing his team to 10 men on a night when they struggled with a full complement on the pitch.

“I would expect better from such an experienced player.”


Two very different sides of the argument there, but which of them do you agree with?

Have your say below.

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