Sometimes the referees don’t take the bait.
In two of the exhibits on show in this instalment of Dive or No Dive, the play was allowed to continue after the incident in question; in one of them the culprit was shown a yellow card.
Penalties aren’t always awarded whenever a footballer hurtles himself to the ground inside the 18-yard box, and that’s refreshing.
Sometimes—albeit maybe not as much we we’d like—the match officials get things spot on.
Exhibit A: Sergio Busquets vs. Athletic Bilbao
On December 1, Barcelona tasted defeat for the first time this season in La Liga when they fell 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao at the new San Mames stadium.
But they didn’t go down without a fight—or, in Sergio Busquets case, an attempt to get on the scoreboard by drawing a penalty.
Less than 18 minutes had elapsed when the Barcelona midfielder went down in front of the opposing goal, although it didn’t look at the time as if a single Athletic player had touched him.
Apparently the referee agreed.
Exhibit B: Ramires vs. Derby County
Just four days after Chelsea midfielder Oscar committed a flagrant dive in the Blues’ 3-0 win away to Southampton, the Brazilian’s teammate for club and country tried his own luck at the dark arts in a January 5 FA Cup match against Derby County.
Replays showed Ramires had jumped over the foot of Michael Keane before throwing himself to the floor, and the referee took little time in presenting the culprit with a yellow card.
Chelsea, however, managed to progress into the next round of the competition thanks to second-half goals from John Obi Mikel and Oscar.
Exhibit C: Raheem Sterling vs. Stoke City
Although they came out on the end of a 5-3 loss at Britannia Stadium, Stoke City’s Sunday match against Liverpool was one of the more exciting matches to be found over the weekend.
It even came with some controversy.
Shortly after the restart, and with Stoke leading 2-1, Reds attacker Raheem Sterling went to ground after the supposed challenge of Marc Wilson.
Steven Gerrard converted the resulting spot-kick, and Liverpool went on to win in thrilling fashion.