November 16, 2011

Match report: Ireland - Estonia (1-1)...

... refereed by Björn Kuipers (NED) - observed and written by Chefren (ITA):

"Just a friendly?"

Kassai and Le Coq Arena

Introducing this match, I have first to summarize what happened in the first leg on last Friday at "Le Coq Arena", Tallinn. Referee in charge was Viktor Kassai. He had a intensive game to handle with many decisions to take: he issued two red cards and a penalty - all these against the home team. 
Well, after these decisions, many Estonians were angry and they thought there was a conspiracy against them. I really don’t agree. Every person who watched that game has to admit that Estonia had a bad day. They played in a very rough way,  maybe because the opponents were too strong. 
In my opinion, both red cards were absolutely right, and even one of the four yellows could have been a  straight red! We can discuss and talk about last decision, the penalty, but I think it wasn’t scandalous. Furthermore, an Estonian player deserved a red card in the first half, Kassai gave only a yellow card. I wanted to explain these things, due to the importance of this match and also because I really wonder what the Estonians have to complain now. With due respect, we however have to be fair. They were living a dream...dreams have not always a happy ending...

The match

Having said that, we can focus on Kuipers and his work in this match. My report title is “Just a friendly?” because after the first leg result, this was really the most trivial match considering the four playoffs.  However, UEFA appointed the Dutch before knowing the score,  therefore, the destiny wanted such a game for this referee. In the first half, the match was pretty quiet. The Estonian players were not thus rough like in the first leg; and the Irish players obviously didn’t force the game. 
Despite this, something important happened already around the 10th minute, the episode of the first card. An Estonian player committed a very serious and hard tackle from a dangerous position: no chances to catch the ball, in my opinion it could have been a straight red card, maybe yellow was not enough, Kuipers wasn’t in a good position to detect it. You can watch the capture (l.) and judge whether yellow was enough..

In first half, in addition to this episode, I have merely to report some offsides calls (not always with a replay). The assistant referees Zeinstra and Simons were good. After 1 minute as additional time, the first half ended with Ireland leading 1-0.

In the second half, after 10 minutes, Estonia scored the equalizer. A few minutes later on, Kuipers cautioned the next player, this booking was totally justified as well. It was a clear foul which aimed at stopping a dangerous attack by Irish forwards. In the same action, Kuipers had already given good advantages for previous fouls. Nothing else happened until the end of the game, except an offside call in the 85th minute, correctly seen.

Overall, the second leg - in contrast to the first leg - was nor intensive neither difficult for Kuipers who was good in foul detection; most of the calls were correct, showing some good advantages in the second half, too. 

However, I think one has to emphasize the incident involving the serious foul by the Estonian:
To my mind, the statement or conjecture that the yellow card was ok either due to Kuipers having been lenient in this situation, or due to the earliness of the situation or even because of the first leg's controversies, is definitely wrong. A referee should always take a firm decision! Maybe he didn’t realize that the foul was really dangerous for the Irish player who was fouled in this situation...

- Control (25%)...was totally ok in an easy match! Evaluated with the mark 7,0.
- Calls (25%): first yellow should have been a red one; ok on other calls including the assistant  referees. Evaluated with the mark 6,5.
- Match difficulty (10%): 5,0
- Style (20%): 7,5
- Neutrality (20%): 8,0

Final mark: 7,0

I thank Chefren for his first match report. Very good work !


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