Another draw? Not that anyone predicted it or anything, but yeah, another away draw. This time, though, it was in the Copa del Rey and gives the team an away goal to work with. Valencia have to score to progress, which may not be as easy a thing to do as one suspects, given that only 3 teams have done so all year at the Camp Nou and only 1 visitor has kept a clean sheet there.
But the big deal seems to be Pinto’s handball outside the box with Roberto Soldado bearing down on him. It was a handball and it was outside the box. That much is clear and indisputable thanks to the video evidence. That it comes on the heels of Sandro Rosell’s statements about refs seemed just perfectly on so many levels. The press knows how to play this softball lobbed down the middle. They had their hook baited and someone snapped it up at the first asking, which is all they could ever hope for.
Yet live, I thought it was on the line. Live, I thought there was no way it was a penalty. The ball rebounded off his arm and that was a close call, but damn, well done to stay in the box. No ref can really call that, either, since he’s looking at it from behind and probably a good 40 yards away. So it’s up to the linesman and I’ll admit to ignorance on where the linesman was standing, but if it was anywhere other than directly in line with the play, perspective tells us he probably couldn’t make the call well either. The linesman in the second half got it wrong against Valencia too, having lined up incorrectly when the ball was played, he didn’t see through 2 Valencia players to Mascherano (I believe) behind him.
Referees do make mistakes, that’s for sure. Lassana Diarra wasn’t sent off, but Sergio Ramos was. Pinto wasn’t sent off, but then again, there were several fouls that were worthy of yellow cards that didn’t get one and they would almost certainly have led to second yellows later. Remember when Eric Abidal was sent off against Chelsea for a non-foul on Anelka? These things happen. And sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don’t. I thought the reffing was rather sad throughout the match last night, but, in the end, it evened out and the 1-1 draw that could have been very different was probably the right outcome. Sport called the whole Callejon-Rosell thing pretty well, though, I have to admit.
What’s best, right now, is to stop talking about referees and start wondering where the midfield dynamism will come from over the next couple of weeks. Xaviniesta, esta es una injury fest. Damn.
Your review is coming up this evening. Hasta mañana.
PS this, forever: