The Great Debate: Cristiano Ronaldo's Red Card
Today's Manchester derby was one in which many, myself included, were predicting a shock result, with the blue side of Manchester triumphing.
It wasn't to be, though, as Wayne Rooney scored his 100th, and probably easiest, goal of his club career to give United a 1-0 win over Mark Hughes' men.
The result, coupled with Chelsea's loss to Arsenal, puts Manchester United within five points of the league leaders, something Liverpool will be looking to rectify when they face West Ham tomorrow.
But one of the big talking points of the game surrounded Cristiano Ronaldo.
In a delightfully ironic twist, after Sir Alex Ferguson and Ronaldo had been bleating all week about wanting more protection than perhaps a worse player would get (ridiculous, I know!), Ronaldo received his marching orders after getting two yellow cards.
The main point of discussion, however, was his second yellow. The offending moment is shown in the picture above, as Ronaldo was adjudged to have intentionally handled the ball as it came in from the corner.
His first yellow was for a tackle from behind, and I think few would argue about that one, but many have been saying that this second yellow was too soft.
Now, when I first saw this, I wondered how on earth anyone could argue. He just stuck his hands out and pushed the ball towards goal.
But as I thought about it more, I was asking myself why would he do that. He is one of the best headers of the ball in the league, and the cross was perfect for him to add to his goal-tally.
It later turned out that he had heard something, which he thought might have been the whistle.
Sorry Ronny, but you should have the same policies as rugby players. If you cross the line, always put the ball down, even if you think it may not count. If you are a footballer with a chance, always finish it, in case it counts. Especially when you think the whistle went while you were in mid-air going for a header.
But should the referee have given him a second yellow card?
Well, the case for common sense over refereeing to the letter of the law could come up, but I'm sure Howard Webb had the same first impression as almost everyone else did. He saw Ronaldo trying to seek an unfair advantage through the use of his hands.
Was Howard Webb right to give Cristiano Ronaldo the second yellow? In my opinion, a definite yes!
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