December 6, 2012

Crucial decisions at Champions League Matchday 6

Analysis of crucial situations in this week's UEFA Champions League matches based on video material - if available..


1) Bayern München - BATE Borisov, refereed by William Collum (SCO)
Scotland's latest Elite Group referee William Collum had to deal with two crucial situations in a match of actually low relevance and importance: 
At first, he correctly sent off Bayern's Jerome Boateng for serious foul play. His decision came pretty swiftly and led to some kind of astonishment among Bayern's supporters and the German commentary. Nevertheless, that's the only correct colour for this reckless challenge that could have had a grave impact on his opponent's health [video: 4:10].
In addition, the 33 year old teacher dismissed a Belarusian player for a rarely stupid and obvious dive [6:32]. Additional assistant referee 2 John Beaton probably advised him to take this decision. There may be no doubt about that - the first yellow card against this player was issued for a tactical foul [3:08] and was hence correct, too.
Unfortunately, the general impression of this Scottish team was weakened by a crucial mistake of the first assistant referee Martin Cryans who did not recognize a very tight offside position preceding Bayern's third goal [5:44].

2) Celtic Glasgow - Spartak Moskva, refereed by Felix Brych (GER)

German Elite official Felix Brych had been appointed to take charge of this crucial Group G match. With regard to the draw achieved by Benfica at Camp Nou, Celtic really had to win to qualify for the K.O. stage.
In the 81st minute of play, Greek striker Samaras fell at the edge of the penalty area. Brych immediately pointed to the spot and even if the penalty seems to be provoked and a too harsh decision, there are some replays that clearly show the clumsy contact induced by the Russian defender, so that the penalty was a correct decision [1:18].
Later on, Brych furthermore dismissed Källström for a repeated foul. Regarding the replays and recognizing the fact that the studs were obviously up, a straight red card could have even been possible, but the 2nd yellow card is absolutely acceptable as well [1:35].

3) Chelsea - Nordsjaelland, refereed by Bas Nijhuis (NED)

At Stamford Bridge, a new record has gone into the books of UEFA Champions League's history. It was the first time that a referee has awarded three penalties in one half. In addition, there is surely no other match where three handball penalties had been issued within only seven minutes.
The first penalty to Nordsjaelland is a crucial mistake: The handball itself was well detected, although one probably cannot call it a totally deliberate handball, there are a lot of criteria fulfilled to call this a handball to be penalized. The problem however was: the handball occurred a few centimetres outside the box. Nijhuis himself probably could not see it, his assistant referee Angelo Boonman should have seen it though [0:05].
Only a few moments later, Nijhuis awarded the next penalty, this time to Chelsea and this time, it was a clear and correct call [0:56]; the only controversy could be whether the striker who headed the ball previously fouled his opponent, but my answer is no. Richard Liesveld, Nijhuis' additional assistant, surely helped him in this situation.
The last penalty Nijhuis whistled was again awarded to Chelsea. Nordsjaelland's defender got the ball at his left hand, which was not very close to the body, but not far from it either. The distance was small, there was only a minimum enlargement of his body volume, the hand did not go to the ball. A hard, to my mind, too hard decision [1:52]. This time, Nijhuis took the decision himself.

4) Shakhtar Donetsk - Juventus Turin, refereed by Jonas Eriksson (SWE)

The perpetual issue related to the question of whether a handball should be considered as deliberate or undeliberate was also of relevance at Donetsk's Donbass Arena.
In the early stages of play, Juventus claimed for a penalty after a Shakhtar defender got the ball on his hand [unfortunately not captured by the video]. Surely, the header would have been a dangerous goal attempt. In addition, the body volume was significantly enlarged; nonetheless, this handball should at least not be regarded as completely deliberate or intentional. It was more or less inevitable, but if the Swedish officials had awarded a penalty, the Ukrainian side could not have protested that much. No clear and undoubtful crucial mistake from my point of view.
However, a crucial mistake happened later on when AR2 Daniel Wärnmark did not recognize the tight offside (due to contrary movements), but nonetheless pretty clear offside position of an Italian forward [1:16]. It led to the decisive goal of the match.

I would have liked to include some further incidents in this analysis, such as Tony Chapron's missed penalty in AC Milan - Zenit, or Deniz Aytekin's many crucial calls in Málaga - RSC Anderlecht. Unfortunately, there were no suitable videos.


  1. 1) Very brave decision by Collum, the problem is that not all the referees act in this way. Second card for dive is also correct.

    2) I agree with Brych about the given red card, but not about the penalty. Even though there was a slight contact, we should then whistle everything, in every part of the field. I don't agree, too soft to my mind, and the behavior of Celtic player was clearly in order to get this penalty and go to the round of 16. If not a crucial mistake, at least there is something to be reviewed.

    3) Nijhuis: wrong the first decision, correct the second, so-so the third. By the way, for the reasons that you have explained, I agree with you, it was more nothing than penalty.

    4) I have already said about Eriksson, but there is another situation, which happened in second half. Mkhitaryan asked referee for a penalty, but he was immediatly booked. In my opinion, also here the alleged contact is not enough to justify a penalty, but I think neither simulation.

    I have watched something about Stavrev, I think that the penalty is correct but he is exaggerated in giving cards for complaints. Almost all the given cards in Lille-Valencia were for unfair behavior against the referee or the game, even after the penalty, he booked another player for complaints and not the man which committed the foul. Very attentive under this aspect, but surely a bit exaggerated. Kostadinov again with a very good offside call, after his excellent performance in Juventus-Nordsjelland.

    I don't know about Orsato, Rizzoli and Moen.

    1. About Nijhuis.

      The first penalty is ludicrous. The second one is a penalty but IMO there is a striker's foul before that. The third is clear as well. If you look the defender he tries to avoid the ball. And his hand didn't go for the ball.
      So that makes it 3 mistakes.

      About Collum.

      Absolutely spot-on decision. If only all referee would react at the same manner.

  2. Thomas has watched Moen, I think he will later be able to say something on him. I only saw that Haglund and Andas were brilliant in many difficult offside/onside situations.
    Rizzoli, according to the commentary in the simulcast, "did not make the best figure on the pitch", but I do neither know whether he is right, nor - if he is right - why Rizzoli was not that good.

  3. Anonymous6/12/12 17:36

    Before Juve score goal it was offside!

    1. "However, a crucial mistake happened later on when AR2 Daniel Wärnmark did not recognize the tight (due to contrary movements), but nonetheless pretty clear offside position of an Italian forward [1:16]. It led to the decisive goal of the match."

    You can find nearly all matches highlights around the globe on this website. Furthermore, it eliminates the need for download for some of the matches by uploading the full match. It is useful for analysis.

  5. I disagree with the penalty call by Brych. It is too too easy. Apparently Samaras doesn't make any effort to escape from the contact and the contact isn't much in my opinion. Considering the fact that Brych is a German referee, then the position in Munich - Dortmund (Muller) should also have been called as penalty. I don't think as a mistake that Brych called the penalty, but I think it is too easy for a match like this.

    1. In addition to that, when the ball is crossed to Samaras, look how he also uses his hands to eliminate his opponent.

    2. Anonymous7/12/12 02:05

      Turan, I agree completely. I love the " Brych-style " , but- penalty is " homey " . Mažić's report BVB-CITY? Impressions in my country are positive.
      Damir, Serbia

    3. I have sent a moderate report to Niclas yesterday. He might post it today or may have already posted. I liked Mazic. The game itself wasn't challenging for him. just a couple positions. I like his fitness and relationship with players. The only thing I realized, he moves too much when the ball is in penalty area. In my opinion, if he stays and just watches chances to miss a call is less. Overall, expected performance for me.

    4. Thanks for the website and your impressions.
      The Mazic report is available at !

  6. 100% with you Chef on Brych. Like the Rooney penalty v Cluj this was a poor poor decision. I have no interest in 'can be given' merely 'elite probability ratios' -> these are not given 90% of the time by Elite officials.

  7. Small comment on the Norwegian team. Moen excellent in first half, so-so in second. Card policy too inconsistent. Haglund and Andas outstanding, both challenged by some very tight situations in quick succession. Skjerven, Johnsen and Midthjell effectively spectators. Report to follow tomorrow or so.


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