Manchester United got off to a good start against Real Madrid in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. However, a major turning point occurred partway through the second half.
A Sergio Ramos own goal gave Manchester United a 1-0 lead at the 48-minute mark. This moment of celebration was short-lived, however, as a red card in the 56th minute against Nani gave all the momentum to the opposing team.
FOX Sports sent out a video of the incident on Twitter:
Needless to say, a call like this led to a lot of controversy. Fans and analysts watching the match took to Twitter to present their view of the call.
Bleacher Report's Will Tidey thought the call was blatantly wrong:
That is one of the great ridiculous decisions. Absolutely appalling— Will Tidey (@willtidey) March 5, 2013
Max Bretos of ESPN remained on the fence, believing it was at least a decent call and understandable:
Been thinking about it, watched it again that may not have been a red for Nani. But it is pretty darn close. OK call for me— Max Bretos (@mbretosESPN) March 5, 2013
Of course, Piers Morgan represented the other side of the argument, perfectly content with the red card:
What's all the fuss about? Nani karate-kicked him in the sternum - lucky not to be jailed, never mind sent off.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 5, 2013
After the red card, Real Madrid sent Luka Modric onto the field in an effort to give the offense a lift. This turned out to be the right move, as he scored only a few minutes later to tie the match.
The Spanish club kept the momentum going with a goal by Cristiano Ronaldo in the 69th minute, taking the lead in the match and in the aggregate score of the round.
This one call by the ref ended up making a huge difference in the outcome of this match, which will affect the entire Champions League for the rest of the tournament.
You can guarantee that this will continue to be dissected plenty of times over the coming weeks and months.