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Champions League

Who is the referee for Real Madrid - Manchester City, Daniele Orsato?

UEFA’s decision to select the Italian to referee the Champions League semi-final is ominous for Los Blancos, given that he has overseen their last two eliminations.

Update:
UEFA assign Daniele Orsato to Real Madrid-Manchester City second leg.

UEFA have assigned Daniele Orsato to the second leg of the Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabéu, which takes place on Wednesday 4 May at 9pm local time (3pm ET). The decision to allot the game to the Italian official is a double-edged sword for the home side: while Orsato is widely considered one of the best referees on UEFA’s books - being named referee of the year by the IFFHS in 2020 - he also oversaw Madrid’s last two Champions League eliminations, against Chelsea and, as it would happen, Pep Guardiola’s City.

How Real Madrid have fared with Orsato

The first of these two defeats took place in the 2019-20 competition, when City beat Madrid 4-2 on aggregate. Orsato was the man in the middle for the home leg of that tie, when Gabriel Jesus and Kevin de Bruyne scored for the visitors to cancel out Isco’s opener. The Belgian’s goal came from the spot after Dani Carvajal was pulled up for a foul on Raheem Sterling and the Italian official also sent Sergio Ramos off in the 86th minute, ruling the former Madrid captain out of the return fixture.

A year later, in the 2020-21 Champions League, Orsato was in charge at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea won 2-0 to seal a 3-1 aggregate win after a 1-1 draw at the Bernabéu in the opening leg. That game passed off without any penalty area incident or sendings off on a night when Zinedine Zidane’s side were simply outfoxed by Thomas Tuchel’s Blues.

The last time Orsato oversaw a Champions League knock-out game featuring Madrid was in the last 16 of this year’s competition in the Parc des Princes, where PSG beat Carlo Ancelotti’s side 1-0, a result that was emphatically turned around in the Bernabéu courtesy of a Karim Benzema hat-trick.

As well as those three defeats, Orsato has overseen two Madrid victories in the group stage of the Champions League: 8-0 against Mälmo in 2015-16 and 0-1 against Galatasaray in 2019-20.

Referee Orsato: yellow, red cards and penalties

Orsato has been a UEFA referee since 2010 and was a coach before turning his hand the officiating. In total he has taken charge of 41 Champions League games, including the 2020 final between PSG and Bayern Munich, and his strict enforcement of the rules suggests both sides must tread carefully on Wednesday: he averages 4.39 yellow cards per game in the competition and has sent off seven players, five for a double caution and two with straight reds. Of course, the current UEFA rule on suspensions should appease some concerns over a player missing the showpiece final.

He has also awarded 11 penalties during those 41 fixtures.

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