Manchester United v Real Madrid: Should Nani have been sent off?

 

Manchester United went out of the Champions League at Old Trafford on Tuesday thanks to a 3-2 aggregate defeat by Real Madrid, in a tie that turned on the red card shown to the home side's Portuguese winger Nani. Here BBC Sport details the incident, the laws and brings all the reaction.

The incident

I think the referee has actually made the right call. Everyone's upset about it and it's slightly unlucky, but it's dangerous play.

Roy Keane

Manchester United led 1-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate when Nani raised his foot high and connected with Alvaro Arbeloa's ribs in the 56th minute.

Nani did not appear to see the Spaniard and had his eye on the ball throughout the incident, but he was sent off - prompting a furious Sir Alex Ferguson to head towards the touchline to remonstrate with the officials.

Real took control against the 10 men with two goals in quick succession from Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo, and despite a late rally by the Premier League leaders, those strikes were enough to settle the tie.

The law

Fifa law 12, fouls and misconduct, states:  "A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play." It clarifies: "Excessive force means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent."

The referee

Turkey's Cuneyt Cakir was taking charge of his third Manchester United match, having officiated in a defeat for Ferguson's side by Athletic Bilbao in last season's Europa League and a Champions League draw with Benfica earlier in the same European campaign.

Referer Cuneyt Cakir sends off Chelsea's John Terry against Barcelona in 2012

Terry was shown a red card by Cakir in Barcelona

Cakir sent off Chelsea captain John Terry against Barcelona in last year's semi-final second leg at Camp Nou, and Mario Balotelli in Manchester City's 1-0 win over Dinamo Kiev in 2011.

The 36-year-old from Istanbul joined Uefa's elite category in 2011 and officiated at Euro 2012, taking charge of the semi-final between Portugal and Spain, having sent off Keith Andrews during Republic of Ireland's group match against Italy.

The punishment

BBC Radio 5 live's sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar says that Nani's red card will be subject to a disciplinary review to decide how long the ban should be.

"It's not an automatic three-match ban as it would be in the Premier League," Farquhar said. "It will be one, two or three matches, or more as the rules allow.

"He or United can make representations at that hearing, and they can appeal against any decision."

The case is likely to be dealt with at Uefa's next discipline and control body meeting.

The reaction

Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane on ITV: "I think the referee has actually made the right call. Everyone's upset about it and it's slightly unlucky, but it's dangerous play. Whether he meant it or not is irrelevant. It's dangerous play - it's a red card. You have to be aware of other players on the pitch. Does he think he's going to have 20 yards to himself? Whether it's [a brave decision] or not, it's the right decision. Whether he meant it or not doesn't matter. Nani's a quick boy to go down anyway. He's not the bravest player on the planet."

Paddy Crerand, who played for Manchester United from 1963-1971, told BBC Radio Ulster: "Roy Keane was in a minority of one. Not one person said it was a red card except Roy. Does Roy want to be noticed?

Crerand sees red over Keane Nani view

"Why are we talking about Roy Keane? Why do we not talk about the 99.9% of people who said it wasn't a sending off. Why are we talking about Roy Keane - because he played for Manchester United. Well, let me tell you something. I played with Manchester United, I played in a European Cup final, Roy didn't. The referee was wrong."

Retired referee Graham Poll on BBC Radio 5 live: "Only one offence has to be intentional - handball. It's not what you mean to do but what you actually do. He intended to jump that high with his foot raised - that's intentional. It's unfortunate, he's not that kind of player but the referee was doing his job and it is wholly wrong for us to castigate him for doing his job."

Retired referee Dermot Gallagher on BBC Radio 5 live: "[The decision was] harsh to say the least, but in fairness the Real player did Nani no favours whatsoever. At worst Nani catches the underside of his arm, certainly not the ribs as the guy has gone down and shown.

"I can't reiterate enough that he [Nani] is watching the ball over his shoulder, there was no malice in him. At worst it was a yellow for dangerous play, but if I was refereeing that game I cannot see by what stretch of the imagination I would have sent him off for that."

Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan: "The manager is not in a state to talk to the referee about the decision. I think it speaks volumes I am here speaking now and not the manager of this fantastic football club. The decision seemed very harsh, possibly incredible at that moment in the game."

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho: "I can say for certain Arbeloa did not feign contact. It was quite strong and he was shown a red. It could have been a yellow. Playing with a man down for such a long period of time is going to change a lot. When we were against 10, we played very well for 10 minutes. We gave them a new problem they couldn't solve."

Everton manager David Moyes on BBC Radio 5 live: "I think tonight Sir Alex Ferguson will be rightly as angry as he has ever been. The decision changed the game. I am looking from a manager's point of view and Manchester United have had a hard time tonight. I think they have a right to surround the referee. The decision was poor and it has cost them the biggest prize in football."

Former Liverpool and Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann on Sky Sports: "He wants to bring it down, I think no Real Madrid player expected it, nobody was claiming a red card. He didn't see him he didn't mean to do it, it's not even a booking."

Keith Andrews leaves the pitch

Cakir sends off Ireland's Andrews at Euro 2012

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville on Twitter  : " Been going to Old Trafford since age of five and I've never seen the whole ground as in disbelief as they were last night at a decision.

"Nani is a player who regularly tries to control a pass like this over his shoulder and its never a red card. Changed the whole game. Poor ref. The crowd actually weren't angry / weren't shouting they were just open mouthed and in shock. Just ruined a fascinating match and didn't feel right to Utd or Madrid people in the stadium."

Former Manchester United player Lou Macari on BBC Radio 5 live: "This referee had plenty of time last night - there were players lying down waiting to get treatment during that thinking time.

"I couldn't believe it, like everyone at Old Trafford, when he pulled out a red card. It was simply a wrong decision. I'm sure when he looks at it this morning, he will realise it was wrong."