Dubious Penalty Aids Chelsea Victory

A dubious penalty given by the referee aided Chelsea victory. Spurs was clearly the better side. European League and competitions have seen shocking decisions by referees and their assistants in recent weeks.

Dubious Penalty Aids Chelsea Victory-News Time NowChelsea is in line to achieve what they did way back in 2010 – bag the league and cup double. They got the better of a sprightly Tottenham Hotspurs 4- 2 in the first semi-final of the FA Cup.

They lead the Premier League table with Spurs in hot pursuit. If they do bag the double at the end of it all,  they must remain indebted to English Referee Martin Atkinson who supervised their game at the Wembley Stadium against Spurs.

Willian had put Chelsea ahead with a fortuitous free-kick only to see Harry Kane get the leveller with a cheeky header. It was at that point and with Spurs dominating that the referee got into what turned out to be a game-changing act.

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Spurs South Korean Heung-Min Son sprinted back to check Victor Moses in the box. He stretched out and tried to push the ball. He made no contact with the Chelsea player. Neither did he intend to trip him. Moses grabbed the opportunity and simply fell over a prostrate Son like a log.

Atkins was rather poorly positioned and shockingly pointed to the spot rather than book Moses for simulation. Willian sent goalkeeper Llorris the wrong way to make it 2-1.

But Spurs battled back to square things up as Dele Alli turned in a Ericksson lob but Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic struck for a final 4-2 scoreline in the Blues’ favour.

Had Atkins not made that rather shocking decision, the result might have been different. Spurs were the better side. They had more possession and virtually camped inside the Chelsea half.

They gave the Chelsea defense a trying time but at the end of it all, were unable to do anything more. A crestfallen side could bounce back twice despite what was a monumental blunder. But they could not fight back further. Hazard and Matic struck what were genuine goals but the damage had been done much earlier in the game.

European league and competitions have seen shocking decisions by referees and their assistants in recent weeks. Barcelona could never have overcome a 0-3 deficit in the champions League last 16 game against Paris St Germain but for the referee’s “benevolence” inadvertently or otherwise.

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While referees from South America, Africa, Asia or Oceania have always been looked at as poor cousins of their European counterparts, it is the latter breed of referees who have turned many a football game inside out.

Remember another English Referee Howard Webb making a mess of no less than the World Cup final itself between Spain and Netherlands in 2010? But for his web of errors, Netherlands would have triumphed. That was not to be and Spain got their maiden and only World Cup success.

Celebrated Italian Referee Pierluigi Colina  heads the FIFA Referee Committee. One hopes he would initiate measures to check blunders that are occurring regularly and having a lot to do with the eventual results.

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S S Shreekumar

Shreekumar S S is a senior sports journalist radio and television commentator as well. Shreekumar has been in print and broadcast journalism since 1984 having worked in the Times of Deccan, Times of India, (Bangalore and Kolkata editions), Indian Express, Deccan Herald and served as sports editor of the Karnataka edition of The New Indian Express in Bengaluru. Shreekumar has covered all major sporting events having specialized in soccer writing and reporting. Shreekumar has been doing commentary for AIR since 1985 and is the only person in the country to have done even the final of every major soccer championship. He has also done assignments for Doordarshan from time to time. Shreekumar has also been doing commentary for the web on the I-Leagie soccer. He has the distinction of having covered every sport.

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