Cakir: a safe pair of hands for Bayern Munich - Atlético Madrid
It’s a rare occasion indeed (I think this is just the second time) that a referee takes control of two Champions League semi-finals. But UEFA's director of referees Collina has decided to put his trust fully in Turkish referee Cüneyt Çakir, who took charge of the Manchester City - Real Madrid game, by giving him the whistle for tonight’s Bayern Munich - Atlético Madrid second leg (the first leg finished 1-0 at the Calderón). The whistler, born in Istanbul and who turns 40 in November, will take centre-stage again tonight after what was recognised as being a very solid game at the Etihad.
Çakir is a big name, he’s refereed the Europa League final, and is well respected by almost every team and player out there. On the pitch he’s highly professional, and highly astute in dealing with pro footballers. He doesn’t hand out cards easily, knows when to stop things getting out of hand almost before they even start, and doesn’t like to call attention to himself.
In a game as intense as a perfectly poised Bayern - Atlético Madrid Champions League semi-final second leg he’ll need to put a stop early to any over-physical actions from the players, as well as the protests he’s likely to hear every time he gives a decision one way or another: Guardiola in particular likes his players to look for contact to force fouls.
Atlético need to avoid protests of any kind to avoid picking up cards which could easily come back to haunt them if the match goes to extra-time. Çakir makes very few mistakes. He’s one of the best. A safe pair of hands for a big, big game.
Ildefonso Urizar Azpitarte was a top-flight referee from 1977 to 1991.
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