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By Walter Broeckx
The ref for this game in the stone pit of Braga was from Hungary. His name was Viktor Kassai. And when you pronounce his name in my local tongue you can translate this in to a cobblestone. So was the ref rock solid?
Well….er…. just read it.
OTHER : After half an hour playing I had already made 3 remarks in my match report about the ref giving free kicks for every little contact made by an Arsenal player. They were going down as ballerina’s and the ref just gave the free kicks. But the other way round we really had to be brought down before something was given. It never is a good start when I have to mention more on the ref than on the actual playing things in my live match report. 0/3
OTHER: Djourou on the end of a cross, he shoots the ball that hits the defender. The ref gives no corner and the 5th ref who is just standing 5 meters (it could be 4 or 6 meters also) away from it just lets it go. What is he doing there? You are being paid to assist the ref and to help him to make the correct decisions. 0/1
CARD: Eboue gets a yellow card for a tackle. I can agree with this card but keep this in mind when Eboue gets mentioned later on in this ref review. 1/1
OTHER: From my live match report notes: the ref keeps falling for every fall from the Braga players. Arsenal don’t get any free kicks at all. 0/1
CARD: Bendtner brought down after two tackles he can avoid the first but the second with both feet coming in was to much. Not a card ref? It does in my book. 0/1
We go in at half time. The ref has earned himself one point so far.
CARD: In the first 15 minutes of the second half the Braga players commit foul after foul after foul. The ref does nothing at first. He keeps his cards in his pocket. 0/1
CARD: Finally the ref gives a card for another foul against Cesc. 1/1
OTHER/CARD: Denilson booked for a pull and he prevents a counter. Correct this one. But let me just point out that Wilshere had his heel clipped and therefore lost the ball which started this counter. If the ref would have given the foul on Wilshere there wouldn’t have been a counter at all. But I can agree with the booking itself. 0/1 and 1/1
CARD: Djourou gets a yellow card for a tackle from behind. He played the ball but caught the Braga player also from behind. A correct decision. 1/1
OTHER/PENALTY/CARD/CARD: THE MOMENT OF THE GAME. Chamakh heads the ball to Vela who goes past the last defender. The defender throws himself at Vela who goes down. The defender got nothing of the ball and Vela would have been on his own in front of goal. The ref blows… and gives a free kick for Braga. Totally, totally, totally, totally wrong. It should have been a penalty and red card for the Braga defender. 0/1, 0/1, 0/1 and 0/1. The ref is totally wrong. And all the reporters (as far as I could see and hear them) agreed on this: this was a stone wall penalty.
CARD: Late and hard challenge on Wilshere correct booking. 1/1
OTHER: A defender touches the ball from a cross and again the ref gives no corner. And again the 6th official does not react. 0/1
CARD: tackle from behind on Eboue who is so badly injured he has to be carried off the field. The ref gives no card??????? Compare this tackle to the one Eboue made in the first half for which he got a booking. This ref is clearly taking a different view when handing out the cards. 0/1
GOAL: Nothing wrong with the rulebook but note that we just have been down to 10 men. Not that it is against the rules to score against a side with 10 men of course. 1/1
CARD/CARD: Rosicky gets booked as he is playing right back and right midfield. He puts his arm on the shoulder of the Braga player for a split second. And the Braga player runs a few meters and then goes down. But when he went down Rosicky did not touch him and actually the Braga player brings himself down as he kicks himself to the ground by clipping his feet himself. Now this was a dive ref. Oh you missed it. Do you think I’m surprised at this stage? 0/1 and oh this was the Braga player that just kicked Eboue off the field, should have been his second by now. Because a clear dive must always be punished with a yellow card. O/1
GOAL: Again nothing wrong when I look in the rule book for this. 1/1
Total score: 7/23 (30%)
So if we take away the goals which were well within the rules one can only say that the ref was miserable. Very poor. And if we take the goals away he only gets a score of 23%.
Mr. Cobblestone can be placed in the same category as Mr. Dean. And if you ask me the question: did the ref cost us the game I will tell you without any doubt: YES, YES AND YES!
The way he always gave fouls in the first half to Braga was very irritating. After half an hour I knew we were playing against 12 men. After 45 minutes I knew it was against 13 men (5th ref) and after the penalty incident I knew he would do anything to stop us from scoring. In which he succeeded. And I wondered what are those extra officials doing down there? Just standing around and earning easy money? If you put those extra men there they must do their job and correct the ref. Because otherwise we can leave them at home and accept that the ref could not see it. But now on a few occasions they must have been blind for not seeing some things or an accomplice.
What can I say about the not given penalty. The defender throws himself towards Vela and the ball and completely misses the ball. Vela has to jump to save his legs and there is contact between Vela and the defender. When the whistle went everyone in the stadium was expecting a penalty and then the ref just turned it all around. Not only should we have got a penalty but as the defender was the last defender, Vela would have been on his own on goal so the defender should have been sent off.
I’m not saying we would have scored from the penalty, as we never will know, but we would have been playing against 10 men from that moment on. And now minutes later we lost Eboue after a tackle where the Braga player came from behind and completely blocked his leg and I think his knee is done. And the ref just gave no card for this.
I don’t know if the ref is just useless. I don’t know if he just is always a home referee. I don’t know if he has something against Arsenal. I just don’t know if he just is a bad ref. I cannot tell you but I do can tell you that he is a ref that got on my nerves even more than ref Dean. And I can tell you to succeed in this you must be really, really bad. And the worst part is: nothing can be done about it.
Highest score so far in the CL was 91% and the lowest… yes you guessed it I think….Ref Kassai.
A final note on being biased or not. After finishing my ref review and seeing the low score, I saw the game again on another channel with another commentator. And he also talked a lot about the poor decisions from the ref. I went on the internet to see some live match reports from different newspapers and they also talked a lot about poor decisions from the ref. So maybe I could be biased but then it would mean that the other sources I checked were also biased. And I know that from the match commentator in Dutch that he is not an Arsenal fan but even he said that the ref took the points away from Arsenal.
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