World Football

Dive or No Dive? Vote on Vidal, Coro and Bacca

TURIN, ITALY - JANUARY 18:  Arturo Vidal of Juventus celebrates scoring the first goal during the Serie A match between Juventus and UC Sampdoria at Juventus Arena on January 18, 2014 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Jerrad PetersWorld Football Staff WriterJanuary 21, 2014

You sometimes have to feel for the match officials.

While pundits and fans have the luxury of video replay (and it often takes three or four re-runs of the clip to arrive at a verdict), the referee and his assistants must make quick decisions based solely on what they have seen with their own eyes.

Most often, it must be said, they make the correct decision. But their jobs are made all the more difficult by players intent on conning them into awarding penalties they had no business winning.

Following are three examples of penalties awarded from the weekend’s action—each debatable, but each converted into a goal from the resulting spot-kick.

And no doubt on each occasion the officials got plenty of stick from an aggrieved set of supporters.

You really do have to feel for them. Sometimes.


Exhibit A: Arturo Vidal vs. Sampdoria

TURIN, ITALY - JANUARY 18:  Arturo Vidal of Juventus scores the third goal during the Serie A match between Juventus and UC Sampdoria at Juventus Arena on January 18, 2014 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Arturo Vidal has developed something of a reputation as a diver as best exemplified by his shocking flop against Real Madrid in the Champions League Group Stage earlier this season.

On Saturday, he was involved in another controversial incident when he went to ground after the slightest touch from Sampdoria defender Vasco Regini.

Yes, there was certainly contact on the play. But enough for the referee to point to the spot?

You decide.


Exhibit B: Coro vs. Rayo Vallecano

ELCHE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 24:  Edu Albacar (R) of Elche celebrates with his team-mate Botia during the La Liga match between Elche FC and Valencia CF at Manuel Martinez Valero on November 24, 2013 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Get
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Elche found themselves in the driver’s seat after just 19 minutes on Saturday thanks to a series of controversial decisions from referee Pedro Jesus .

The first was the awarding of a penalty to hosts Elche after Coro hurtled to the ground under pressure from Vallecano midfielder Raul Baena.

The second was the very questionable ejection of Baena for his part in the play, and just to rub salt in the wound, Edu Albacar made no mistake from the spot.

Elche went on to win 2-0 and rise to 15th in the Primera Division table.


Exhibit C: Carlos Bacca vs. Atletico Madrid

Toni Rodriguez/Associated Press

At the 71st minute of their Primera Division match at home to Sevilla on Sunday, Atletico Madrid were 19 minutes plus stoppages removed from leap-frogging Barcelona into first place in the standings.

Then came an incident that would cost them their chance to move above the Catalans.

With a long-ball being played into the 18-yard box for Carlos Bacca, Atletico right-back Juanfran got tangled up with the striker who ended up drawing a penalty for the hosts.

Ivan Rakitic converted from the spot, ensuring Atletico would remain second in the table for at least another week.


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