Guerreiro should have been sent off for foul on Luka Modric
Although there was little discussion of the incident afterwards, surely there is a case to be made that the Dortmund midfielder should have seen red.
It was the 77th minute of an open encounter in the second round of group games in the Champions League 2016/17. Real Madrid were playing in their hardest match of the group - away to Borussia Dortmund - and had forged a 1-2 lead just 10 minutes earlier thanks to Varane.
What a chance for Madrid
As the home side pushed for an equaliser Los Blancos found more opportunites to catch them on the break, a tactic the away team had employed from the outset, and Modric had been released on the right of midfield in one such attack. With three colleagues sprinting to support him on the centre-right of the pitch and only two defending players left behind to take care of them a relatively simple pass - certainly for someone of the talent and consistency of the Croatian - was on to feed a clear run on goal. But as Modric looked to assist the move, with a 1-3 deficit for Dortmund then a mountain to climb, the outstretched leg of Raphael Guerreiro purposefully lifted to bring the little midfielder to the ground halting any danger.
The referee was quickly on the spot and a yellow card was produced for the man in yellow and black. But the question about whether red would have been more appropriate seems to have passed by most commentators. Maybe had the scoreline been to Madrid's disadvantage at that time the appeals and debate would have been more veciferous.
Should Dortmund have been reduced to 10 men?
Let's have a quick flick through the Fifa rulebook to Law 12 where it states: a player is sent off if he denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick.
Modric, and teammates were certainly moving towards the player's goal. Tick. It was an offence punishable by a free kick. Tick. So the question is simple: did Guerriero's deliberate foul deny Madrid an obvious goalscoring opportunity? I believe so.
Many have thrown this argument out though saying "dangerous" doesn't mean "obvious" and they're right. But if we'd had the ability to freeze that moment in time (just before the foul), looked at the situation opening up and asked a selection of professionals and knowledgeable fans what the chances were of an obvious goalscoring opportunity resulting I think most would say likely.
To appease a couple of other arguments that I've heard, the rules confirm that this offence does not need to occur inside the penalty area. Also, referees are asked to consider the following which I've added my thoughts in brackets:
- the distance between the offence and the goal (considerable)
- the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball (very likely)
- the direction of the play (towards Dortmund goal at pace)
- the location and number of defenders (poorly positioned and outnumbered)
In the end, the result was a fair one but when has that removed the need, or desire, to discuss decisions that can be interpreted in a variety of ways.
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