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Top Performance from Swedish Referee at the Etihad

Top Performance from Swedish Referee at the Etihad

21 Feb 2014

Barcelona’s emphatic 2-0 victory over Manchester City on Tuesday night was rife with talking points. The first was City’s sheer inability to stamp their mark on the game despite rampaging past the Premier League’s finest at Eastlands this season.

The second was Barcelona’s competent and confident performance that suggests they are by no means the ‘fallen giants’ many football betting punters predicted before kick-off

And the third was referee Jonas Eriksson, the Swede who came in for some major criticism from the live football commentary for his performance on a cold night in Manchester.

Plenty of fans criticised Eriksson for awarding a penalty for Martin Demichelis’ challenge on Lionel Messi, as replays suggested original contact as outside the box. However, replays also showed the collision was a matter of inches from the penalty whitewash and Eriksson was a good 25 yards away (Barcelona hit City on the counter out of nowhere), at vantage point behind Messi. From his angle, it was a sure penalty.

The second major talking point was Gerard Pique’s disallowed goal for offside, when Eriksson’s lineman wrongly flagged Cesc Fabregas, Pique’s assistant. Again, the referee has been criticised for this but it wasn’t his decision to rule the offside – he must go with his lineman.

A final talking point was whether or not one, or both, of Danni Alves and Sergio Busquets should have stayed on the field. The pair are masters at breaking down opposition attacks with niggly fouls before protesting their innocence. Both were booked for persistent offending and both, arguably, should have eventually seen red.

But Eriksson is a smart referee. He’s been a FIFA international official for over a decade and refereed at Euro 2012. And soon as he booked both Alves and Busquets and duo backed off the offending. They received their warning and that was the end of it, which is good player management form the referee.

So, while Manchester City fans may moan about decisions not going their way, and Barca fans will complain they should have earned more goals on the night, neutrals should be satisfied with Eriksson’s performance.

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