UEFA Champions League

Referee's Blown Decisions Help Bayern Munich Bash Barcelona in Champions League

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 07:  Lionel Messi (L) of Barcelona looks at referee Carlos Delgado Ferreiro prior to scoring from a free kick during the la Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium on October 7, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Adam HirshfieldFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2013

There’s no denying that Bayern Munich thoroughly throttled Barcelona in their Champions League semifinal, a tie that finished 4-0 at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

But it was perhaps Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai who turned out to be Bayern’s biggest star of the night. 

OK, OK…that’s an overstatement. But as the great Ian Darke suggested: 

Thomas Muller put the German side ahead in the 25th minute on a ball headed back across the mouth of the goal. No problems there.

Shortly after halftime, Mario Gomez doubled Bayern’s lead on a similar-looking play.

Problem was that—based on replays and the below image—Gomez was a step offside.

In the 73rd minute, following a long run from Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben added to the Germans’ lead, shocking Barca defender Jordi Alba by cutting to his right before beating goalkeeper Victor Valdes with a left-footed shot to the far post.

Problem was that Muller set a pick on Alba—one that would have made Bill Laimbeer proud—to free up space for Robben. Yet, no call.

Muller finished off the scoring in the 82nd minute, but the damage had been done. Two questionable goals, and the second leg at the Camp Nou seems almost like an afterthought.

Bayern Munich fans might suggest that they had two hand balls in the area that went uncalled by Kassai.

Absolutely true. The below ricochet from Barca defender Gerard Pique clearly should have been whistled, and a penalty should have been given.

In the end, it appears not to have mattered. And nothing should be taken away from Bayern, which walks away with an incredibly impressive victory at home. The club's fans are clearly delighted. 

But if Barca were to take a 2-0 lead in the second leg, we will be revisiting these blown calls as the decisions that made the difference.

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