Chelsea took a step closer to the Premiership title when Salomon Kalou added a second goal from close range in today's match against Stoke. Referee Steve Bennett should never have allowed the goal to stand and Kalou should have been dismissed for the challenge which effectively ended Thomas Sorensen's participation in the contest.
When Sorensen failed to hold a fierce Frank Lampard drive the ball squirmed loose and was there to be won by the onrushing Kalou. Unfortunately, for both Sorensen and Stoke, Kalou threw himself at the ball and the goalkeeper with both his studs raised.
This type of challenge might have been acceptable a few years ago but the two-footed tackle has long been outlawed in football and throwing yourself at the ball with either foot raised has recently become a red card offence.
Kalou might have been the firm favourite to reach the loose ball but Sorensen was sufficiently close to it that the Chelsea forward's challenge should have been deemed an actual tackle, rather than merely an interception which might have been slightly more acceptable.
Had the referee reached the correct decision, which would have been to dismiss Kalou, Chelsea would have been reduced to 10 men with three quarters of the game to play and Stoke City would have been revitalized.
Instead Stoke were left without their first choice goalkeeper, Sorensen being stretchered off as a result of the challenge, and Stoke were left facing an imposing two goal deficit.
The rules of the game state that a two footed tackle is not allowed and should be punishable by a red card. Players have been sent off for far less in the Premiership and Chelsea, who benefited from a dubious decision to score the winner against Manchester United recently, were fortunate once again.
I do not think there was any malice whatsoever in Kalou's challenge. However the rules of football dictate that the referee should have sent him off, a decision which would have turned the game on its head. If Chelsea do go on to win the Premiership Alex Ferguson will be left to rue Bennet's failure to red card Kalou.