Monday, 29 April 2013

Evian 0-1 PSG: St Beckham sees rouge as rogue ref goes card crazy

Last night I went to see some ballet.

This is not a regular occurrence: I'm not really a ballet kind of guy (is anyone?) but it was the wife's birthday treat so I could hardly send her on her own. And to be honest I was pleasantly surprised - it was graceful, at times moving, and put me in a relaxed mood ahead of the new working week.

Alas we got home in time for me to catch the end of Evian vs Paris Saint-Germain, which immediately wound me up as tightly as a coiled spring. I switched it on just in time to see David Beckham get his marching orders for a daft lunge on Youssef Adnane. By this point Marco Verratti had already seen red for mouthing off - I know, I didn't believe it either - and then at the final a mass brawl erupted over nothing in particular.

I know it's done thing to condemn such behaviour as disgusting, shameful, nonsense etc, but I always find it quite amusing; I think football should go down the ice hockey route and just let them fight it out till they're done without fear of recrimination. Alas referee Olivier Thual doesn't appear to be of this point of view, as he dismissed Evian's Khlifa, then waited a full ten minutes after the final whistle to show a red card to Salvatore Sirigu for his part in the melee.

Sirigu was throwing his hands about indiscriminately during the big fight, and it seems his rush of blood will cost him dearly, with L'Equipe et al suggesting he's facing an eight-game ban. This seems a bit harsh to me, but then we live in a world where a gentle bite on the neck is worth a ten-game suspension, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. It will be a shame if Sirigu misses the culmination of the season, given that he's been one of our best and most consistent players in the last two years.

Verratti and Beckham, on the other hand, I have little sympathy for. Verratti's mouthiness is well known, and this was bound to happen sooner or later. Ancelotti looked absolutely furious with him as he trotted down the tunnel, and hopefully this will be a lesson to him and he'll learn to reign it in a bit.

I've seen many people on Twitter suggesting Beckham's dismissal was harsh, but a player of his experience should no better than to raise his foot like that. He didn't make contact with Adnane, but regardless the referee was well within his rights to send him on his way. Personally I won't shed many tears if he misses the title celebrations because he's really contributed very little to our impending success.

And that success is very much impending after last night's match, which saw us move to within one victory of the Ligue 1 title thanks to Javier Pastore's well taken goal.

"We did not start with much intensity, but after 20 minutes we controlled the game," said Carletto afterwards. "We scored a fantastic goal with a lot of movement, but we could not find the second and that made Evian confident and gave them hope to equalise. After the red cards for Marco Verratti and David Beckham we lost a bit of control. With a nine point cushion the title is very close."


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