If there is a theme to this instalment of "Dive or No Dive," it is “Going to Ground Under Pressure.”
In none of the three following exhibits did the player who won his side a penalty suffer a harsh tackle or clattering challenge.
No, he merely hit the floor after being pressured from behind by a defender.
These incidents are especially difficult for referees as only the two players involved actually know how much pressure is being applied and if it’s enough to force one of them over.
In any event, we’d like you to have you say. Cast your vote on the following clips.
Exhibit A: Riccardo Montolivo vs. Parma
Vote on Montolivo!
AC Milan dropped to 11th in Serie A with Sunday’s 4-2 loss at home to Parma, but for a time the Rossoneri were at least hoping for a share of the points.
Parma were 2-0 in front thanks to an Antonio Cassano brace when Adil Rami pulled one back for the hosts in the 56th minute, and 20 minutes later Riccardo Montolivo sent Mario Balotelli to the spot when he hit the ground under pressure from Joel Obi.
Balotelli converted the penalty, but Amauri and Jonathan Biabiany would respond for the guests before the final whistle.
Of course, what we want to know is this: Did Montolivo take a dive in an attempt to pull his side back into the match?
Exhibit B: Marko Marin vs. Real Valladolid
Vote on Marin!
Struggling Real Valladolid made a bright start to Sunday’s match away to Sevilla, with Marc Valiente and Stefan Mitrovic creating early scoring opportunities for the guests.
But it was Sevilla who took the lead after 23 minutes, Ivan Rakitic sending Diego Marino the wrong way from the penalty spot.
One of the Croatian’s teammates, Marko Marin, had fallen to the floor just moments earlier under pressure from Lluis Sastre, and the hosts didn't look back after taking the lead.
They proceeded to win 4-1 and firmly entrench themselves in the European positions.
Exhibit C: Quincy Amarikwa
Vote on Amarikwa!
Our final stop is in Portland, Oregon, where on Sunday the host Timbers came back from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire.
Just over 18 minutes had ticked off the clock when Chicago forward Quincy Amarikwa, feeling Norberto Paparatto’s breath on his neck, went to ground inside the 18-yard box, sending teammate Jeff Larentowicz to the spot.
The 30-year-old made no mistake, and Chicago held onto the one-goal lead until the 79th minute when Gaston Fernandez tallied the equaliser for the hosts.