Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks
Pele is fond of referring to soccer as the beautiful game. On Sunday afternoon, October 28, 2012, we were witnessing a beautiful game as Chelsea, the league leaders, were up against the formidable Manchester United.
The first half was simply scintillating. In the first twenty minutes of the first half, Manchester United demonstrated their offensive prowess as they swarmed Chelsea with slick passing in and around the penalty area. Rooney, Young and Van Persie were on fire. In a flash, Manchester United had belittled the mighty Chelsea with two goals in the back of the net.
Van Persie has to be recognized as one of the great scorers in the world of soccer at present. He plays the game like an artist and this season having left Arsenal has added to the offensive potency of Manchester United.
As the half progressed, Chelsea began to find its rhythm. Manchester United found themselves in a state of siege. They could not get the ball out of their half, much less their defensive third.
Hazard, Mata, Oscar and Ramires were in full stride. Rio Ferdinand and Johnny Evans looked mesmerized. Rooney gave up a silly foul outside the penalty area and Juan Mata narrowed Manchester’s lead with a beautiful free kick. The half ended with Chelsea on the attack and all the expectations were that we would see another forty-five minutes of the beautiful game.
Soccer is a game of eleven vs eleven and when players are sent off, it simply throws the game out of whack. Van Persie received a through pass from Ashley Young that amounted to being a beak-a-way and was fouled by Ivanovic. The rule to add offensive punch to the game is that if an opposing player illegally prevents a clear chance at goal, that opposing player is immediately sent off. It is a foolish rule that needs to be modified. Even though the foul may occur outside the box, a penalty can be awarded but to automatically reduce the opposing team to ten men is too foolhardy.
Before the Ivanovic incident, Chelsea had equalized from a goal by Ramires. This was going to be the most competitive game of the season. Not only was Ivanovic sent off for fouling Van Persie, but the referee also sent off Torres for presumably diving outside of the penalty box. Chelsea was down to nine men.
This referee officiating should be disallowed from performing in the English Premier League. He is too trigger happy and shows poor judgment. Manchester United to went to defeat a depleted Chelsea team with an offside goal scored by substitute Hernandez. The perception is that Manchester United is favored by the referees. Normally, officiating in the EPL is of a high standard but this official performed disgracefully. The beautiful game is easily spoiled by officials who have a penchant for rash judgment.