Was This Challenge By Manchester United’s Luis Nani Worth A Red Card?

  • Dylan Murphy

Manchester United currently trails Real Madrid 2-1 in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinals matchup and 3-2 in the aggregate, falling victim to a Luka Modric long-distance rocket and a Cristiano Ronaldo tap-in in the second half of the match. But moments before the goals, all the momentum had already swung Real Madrid’s way after Sergio Ramos’ own goal seemed to kill all hope: in the 59th minute, United’s Luis Nani stuck out his foot to poke a loose ball, but instead clipped Madrid’s Álvaro Arbeloa in the ribs. Arbeloa rolled over to dramatize the incident, and Nani went down hurt as well. After medical personnel tended to Nani for his injury, referee Cüneyt Cakir handed out a devastating and questionable red card, which had Gus Johnson and the entire crowd at Old Trafford up in arms. Shortly thereafter, Real took over with sucessive goals.

So, we ask: was this a legitimate red card? Probably not. Undoubtedly, this will be the play everyone talks about should Real Madrid move on – which seems likely, given that United needs two goals in the final 10 minutes to overcome Madrid’s away goals advantage.