Hey….. Happy “almost women’s day” to all the ladies…
Victor is back with a lil male specie and female too for the women that enjoy soccer, y’all read his previous articles and you loved, here’s another…
“The world would stop for a couple of hours” were the words of Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho. Of course he wasn’t entirely wrong, the world stood still, not for a couple of hours though, but for a couple of minutes. I was explicitly flabbergasted by the decision to send Luis Nani off and I’m sure most part of the world was too. Yes, it’s another article about the Luis Nani red card. Don’t worry I have no idea about the refereeing rules, so this is not a lecture about the rules of the game and kinds of challenges and all that. This article answers the question of: Did Real Madrid win because of the red card?? And although it is easy to give an affirmative response to that question, I want to show you some other reasons to think otherwise.
Firstly, Real Madrid are not a weak footballing club, as a matter of fact, they are not a good footballing club either, they are a top football club; one of the best in the world (if not the best), truth is at some point in the game Manchester United had it coming. Real Madrid has a host of stars in the likes of Mesut Ozil, Kaka (yes, him too), Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, upcoming Raphael Varane and not to forget, star man Cristiano Ronaldo. It would not be a surprise if they found their way through a four man defensive line (as usual). Although Manchester United had held it together for the first half at some point, one of those aforementioned predators would be let loose and punish them dearly. Real Madrid have enough talent to beat any football side and I need not point out the fact that they had crushed Barcelona two times in a row within 5 days, that is not an ordinary thing (for Barca to be crushed, not that Madrid beat them), a feat Manchester United have never done, at least since I started watching football.
Continuing, Luis Nani, the player in question who was shown a red card for a challenge (which could have gone either way), should not have been playing in that match for a start. Manchester United fans would agree that Antonio Valencia could have played there and been more defensively effective, Wayne Rooney definitely could have done a better job of that position. Which brings me to a certain decision that I think changed the game as well: WHY WAS WAYNE ROONEY ON THE BENCH?? Rooney is Manchester United’s most effective, regular, talented, powerful, and craftier players. There’s no way Nani, Welbeck and 700 year old Ryan Giggs can start ahead of him… no really, there is absolutely no way those guys get a start ahead of Rooney. Nani got a red card not because of his foul, but because he wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. If Rooney started he MAY have scored a goal, or provide a perfect assist for sorry looking Robin Van Persie and with the help of Sergio Ramos, they could have been 2-0 up. Or, if he wasn’t doing well, send in someone from the bench. The bench was brimming with talent in Antonio Valencia, hat-trick hero Shinji Kagawa, or super sub Javier Hernandes. Send them in and fill the gap, period.
Thirdly, what was Manchester United supposed to do in this match? The answer should be: defend the away goal, stay compact and strike the opponent on the counter. If we’ve learnt anything from Chelsea last season, it’s that 35 minutes is somewhat a short period to play with 10 men. With 11 players, Manchester United held the game pretty well and were on the verge of going through, good. Then along came Sergio Ramos to slot in an own goal, better. Then they were 1-0 up at home and 2-1 up on aggregate, perfect position to slide over Real Madrid and go on to the quarter finals. Then the red card incident ensued and left them with 10 men on the pitch. Does the game plan really change? If the objective was to defend, then the rather best (or crude) thing to do was to pack the box with 9 players and leave the last one to go into the pitch hoping for the best(like Fernando Torres). Forget how good Real Madrid are, if you pack the box with 9 professional footballers even Heaven FC would find it difficult to score you. Give them the ball to play with and concern yourself with guarding your goal post. If Manchester United could not do this, then maybe they are not as good a club as everyone has made them up to be.
Finally, there were many other referee decisions which could have affected the game too. Examples to be cited are: The disallowed goal by Gonzalo Higuain, Van Persie not stopped for being in an offside position in the build-up to Manchester United’s only goal of the match, Rafael’s hand ball on the goal line and The penalty that should have been when Ramos lounged onto Evra in the box. All those could have affected the game in one way or the other. So, here is my place in the issue: Did the red card affect the game? Yes. Did Real Madrid win the match because of the red card? NO. Fact of the matter is that in all these top games in cup competitions, apart from tactics and players, clubs need a little luck (or favour) to get the best result out of a match and on that day, Manchester United didn’t have enough of that.
– Victor Enahoro Ohwo.