Analyzing Manchester United’s Red Cards vs Porto

If you haven’t watched the Manchester United vs Porto match (or seen the clips), here’s the short version of both red cards (with links to clips from the Manchester United vs Porto match at the end):

Rooney’s Red

Rooney runs across towards Pepe and jumps for the ball, his right arm flailing out to prevent the opposition player from jumping in tandem. Pepe hadn’t seen Rooney, hadnt jumped and was just waiting for the ball when Rooney’s hand hit him in the face. The Porto player went to ground. the ref saw the incident from less than 10 metres away and did not hesitate to give Rooney a straight red.

My take – the knee-jerk reaction from Ferguson and Manchester United supporters is going to be that the straight red was harsh – one, because Ole had been elbowed earlier without a card being shown and because Rooney had gone for the ball and the hand in the face, while unfortunate, was not deliberate.

Objectively, you shouldn’t go into aerial challenges with your arm out like that as it will get you in trouble.

Add to that the fact that Pepe did not jump (which was the main reason he got caught in the face instead being pushed off the ball in the air), and you see that this wasn’t a deliberate foul (please take a look at the clip).

Could have been a yellow card, seeing that Pepe got hit in the face. Still, this is a friendly, a football game is supposed to keep flowing unless there is deliberate malice, and there was nothing of that sort here. Didn’t deserve a straight red.

Ferguson has said that Rooney is being singled out because of his history. Even as a devout Manchester United fan I can’t believe that. The ref is wrong, no question about it, but I doubt that Rooney’s being singled out.

Scholes’ Red

A bit unclear as to what happened here. Scholes was on a yellow, and his rash, rash tackle from behind deserved a booking. But the ref didnt show a second yellow, he went for a straight red. Following FIFA’s rules for deliberate two-footed lunges? Fair enough, but was this a straight red or a red after the second yellow? In either case, this one was deserved. If Scholes is going to accompany Carrick in the midfield he’ll need to improve his tackling.

Good to see the two players scoring goals though 🙂

There is a danger that both of them will be suspended for Manchester United’s opening games in the season (luckily, they are easy – at least on paper), but I doubt it will go that far. For the FA to hold up such a penalty would have required Rooney and Scholes to hack someone’s head off – which thankfully they didnt do.

I expect to see the two in action against Fulham on the 20th – the start of Manchester United’s assault on Chelsea’s title.

Red Card Video Clips

You can get the red card clips by going to this page and downloading the file there:

Man Utd vs Porto (Red Cards – 2)

(Courtesy of the fine people at SoccerPulse)

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