Calls tonight will be made to re-evaluate the standard of referees after Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir made the decision to give Manchester United winger Nani a straight red card for a seemingly unintentional act of trying to receive a high ball.
Manchester United were leading 1-0 on the night thanks to a Sergio Ramos own goal 3 minutes into the second half, when with 34 minutes left to go the game swung in Real Madrid's favour.
The controversy began when Alvaro Arbeloa and Nani collided. Nani would not have known that he was under pressure, and accidently he caught the Spaniard. Cakir went straight to his top pocket and summoned a red card. Ferguson was incensed, and rightly so were the United faithful. Yet it still remains unclear what the red card was for. Serious foul play? Violent Conduct? Or denying a clear goal scoring opportunity? Non of the above seem to justify Cakir's decision, and once again call will be made for consistency in relation to red card offences.
It is unquestionable that refereeing is a difficult job. All decisions are made in the heat of the action, and the officials don't have slow motion replays that we as viewers have seconds after the event occurred. The linesman wouldn't have seen it either, and in the laws of the game the referee's decision must be "beyond unquestionable doubt". I highly doubt that Mr Cakir was 100% sure on the decision, and that he will need to explain the logics of his decision. I think that it is the job of one of F.A's top referee's to provide judegement on the situation in hand, and after watching it again, I think he will realise the scale of his decision.
It appears that this one decision could go on to shape Manchester United's season. The scale of this decision is huge. Manchester United were on top, and subsequent to the decision they lost the game. United set out to win, and were playing well until what will go on to be the most controversial decisions in Champions league history.
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