The funny thing about yesterday’s Semi-Final is the talk afterwards of Chelsea being the better team so the silly decisions didn’t ultimately matter.
I find that really odd: in the first half Spurs were at least as good, if not better, and until Drogba’s wallop probably shaded the half on points (I was reading the papers at the same time as watching but I think I got the gist of things). That they didn’t was because Gallas (as Roy Keane pointed out) failed to get close enough to Drogba. World class strike? Maybe, but it just looked like a route one goal with bad defending to me (then a big thwack on the turn).
So to say that Chelsea would’ve won anyway had the second goal not been given seems a bit wrong to me. Once it had been given Spurs had to chase the game and got caught a few times, so the scoreline looks a bit wonky, but without that goal it’s still 1-0 and really anything can happen.
Then at 2-0 Petr Cech trips Adebayor (fact: throughout the first half I couldn’t for the life of me remember Adebayor’s first name) and Bale taps into an empty net. Fans of Champions League finals past will remember Jens Lehman being sent off for something along these lines, but because Bale scored, Cech escapes a certain red card.
This is a whole philosophical can of worms: are you punishing the act or the outcome?
If Cech was to be punished for ‘denying a clear goalscoring opportunity’ then surely it has to be a red card, as this is exactly what he did. That Spurs scored anyway is immaterial. If a player commits a card-worthy foul in open play but an advantage ensues, the referee will return to the play and book him. The act is what earns the card, not the outcome (the advantage doesn’t mean the foul didn’t happen).
So by now you’ve managed to make a nonsense of the whole game. In 1966 the Argentina team threatened to walk off the field when their captain, Antonio Rattin, was sent off in the World Cup QF against England. To my mind Spurs should have done this after the second goal was awarded. You can’t have a situation where everyone knows within 5 seconds that a terrible game-changing error has been made and an FA Cup Semi-Final is on the line and you just have to say “oh dear” and get on with it. This is getting beyond ridiculous. The referee could have been told about the error instantly. Rugby does this. Cricket does this. Football, the country’s richest sport, cannot (or will not). It’s a farce.