Zlatan Ibrahimovic Sent Off: Did Paris St. Germain Striker Deserve Red Card?
Paris Saint-Germain have secured a 2-1 lead from their Round of 16 first leg Champions League fixture in Valencia, but with two minutes remaining, the lead looked far more secure and comfortable for the Parisian outfit.
One minute into injury time though, they saw Valencia reduce the lead by scoring through Adil Rami late on, and then saw star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic shown a straight red card for an over-the-top challenge on left-back Andres Guardado.
It was certainly a foul, but was it worthy of being shown a straight red? Or was the Zlatan effect coming into play in a negative way here?
While Guardado himself went to the ground clutching his foot, there was hardly an outbreak of rage from his teammates or from the stands, even from those close by, and the Swedish forward seemed shocked at the display of red from the referee.
Ibrahimovic had already committed a foul as he attempted to win the ball in the first challenge near the corner flag, before stamping over the top of the ball in his battle with Guardado.
He clearly missed the ball, but his boot made contact with Guardado's left ankle more than anything, though perhaps it also caught the left shin on the way through. There was no bad intention, no dangerous play and no lack of control in Ibrahimovic's tackle—it was simply a poor one, slightly mistimed.
PSG were already going to be missing midfielder Marco Verratti through suspension for the second leg after he was shown a yellow card earlier on in the match, but Zlatan's straight red will also be a big miss for them.
Earlier, goals from Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore looked to have given the French side a commanding lead—will failing to keep a clean sheet at the end of the game, along with the suspensions of two key players, cost them in the second leg?
Zlatan will no doubt claim that he should not have been sent off in any case, and quite possibly he would be correct to do so.
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