Roy Keane was castigated from certain spheres last night on the back of his comments regarding Nani’s sending off. In fact, Keane had every right to say what he said, despite his litany of problems with discipline over the years (and I’m certainly not forgiving him for that). For those who won’t accept his view because of his problems, I’ve never gone out onto a pitch to purposefully injure another professional footballer (being neither a butcher nor a professional footballer), so I’m allowed to say it – it certainly wasn’t ‘wrong’ to send Nani off yesterday.
Remember the reaction to Nigel De Jong’s tackle in the 2010 World Cup final? A kick to the chest was criticised from all segments, but last night’s tackle wasn’t. There’s been a number of excuses, such as Nani not realising there was a player behind him, to it being considered a genuine attempt to get the ball. But you’d have to argue that any number of sendings off a season are not ‘intentional’ – it would be ridiculous to suggest the intent of Ryan Shawcross was to break Aaron Ramsey’s leg, but it is the consequence that matters in refereeing, not the intention, except where moments of violence are concerned (obviously if someone intends to punch someone but misses it is still a huge incident).
The reality is that Luis Nani kicked his opponent in the chest, planting his studs square on his upper body. We send people off for studs on a leg, never mind higher up, so surely the punishment should be the same? It is similarly punished in Europe as a general rule, so Nani should not have been surprised. A logical man would not go around taking risks like Nani did yesterday.
As an aside, ITV’s reaction was pathetic and symbolised much of what is wrong with modern football coverage – there’s an inherent bias afforded to certain teams. Analysis should be taken without emotion, and it wasn’t done so, which is awful as it affects public opinion incorrectly. It was not a travesty like they tried to suggest. It was a decision that could have been either a yellow or a red, and Cuneyt Cakir pulled out a red. Simple as.
Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).