Referees sometime make calls that absolutely just baffle the mind. However, I don’t know if anything compares to the decision by Bas Nijhuis in the match yesterday between Ajax and AZ in the Dutch Cup.
In the 35th minute, a drunk Ajax hooligan ran out onto the pitch and attacked the AZ goalie, Esteban Alvarado. Alvarado knocked the hooligan to the ground and kicked him a couple of times in the legs. The security guards got to the hooligan and arrested him while Alvarado was restrained by his teammates from going after him.
Shockingly, Nijhuis then gave Alvarado a red card for his actions.
The decision was appalling. Alvarado was simply acting in self-defense by throwing the hooligan to the ground and kicking him. How was Alvarado supposed to know that the hooligan wasn’t going to get up and attack him with a weapon after he knocked him down? If you are dumb enough to run onto the field and attack someone, then you are certainly dumb enough to be carrying a weapon.
Alvarado had to hold him off until someone else got there. In addition to that, Ajax has one of the most notorious hooligan firms in Holland. People have died in clashes with Ajax hooligans. With that in mind, how was Alvarado supposed to know that this hooligan wasn’t going to try to do the same to him?
Alvarado actually showed great restraint all things considered. He could easily have kicked the hooligan in the head instead of kicking him in the legs.
The AZ manager, Gertjan Verbeek, was completely correct to pull his team off of the field. If the KNVB has any common sense, they will kick Ajax out of the competition and give them a hefty fine. In addition to that, they will overturn Alvarado’s red card.