Michael Oliver spot on to award Real Madrid penalty says Mark Halsey in Ref Review

Despite a Merseyside and Manchester derby at the weekend, all eyes ended up on the midweek Champions League action as controversy encapsulated Real Madrid vs Juventus. We call on youaretheref.com’s Mark Halsey to talk us through another busy weekend of refereeing action…


Michael Oliver (Everton vs Liverpool)

It was a decent game without many chances but I thought Michael did well and it was a testament he came through giving no cautions or red cards. I thought he managed it well, he wasn’t fussy and the players trusted his decision making. You have to set your tolerance levels high in these sort of games and that’s what he did.


Anthony Taylor (Brighton & Hove Albion vs Huddersfield Town)

It was an unfortunate incident because both players are going for a 50/50 challenge. Hogg tries to pull out but Propper has gone in with his studs showing and I wouldn’t argue with Anthony’s decision to send Propper off on this one.


Stuart Attwell (Leicester City vs Newcastle United)

The penalty incident for the foul by Dummett was a clear penalty for me and you have to look at the assistant referee. It’s a long clearance down the field and Stuart hasn’t a chance of seeing that because he’s still in the other half.

The assistant has to come in and help the referee there and I don’t know how he hasn’t recognised that as a foul, Stuart’s been let down badly there.

On the Maguire incident, referees don’t help themselves. If Stuart blows up straight away and cautions Gayle it’s sorted but he’s let it go on and on and it’s caused Maguire to react. You can say that Maguire was lucky to stay on the field of play after it’s been allowed to go on but Stuart has to stop that quicker than he did.


Martin Atkinson (Manchester City vs Manchester United)

Martin is a very good referee but what we have to realise is referees have off-days, just like players. They get physically and mentally fatigued but because there’s a lack of quality referees they rely on Martin heavily week in, week out and sometimes your body just can’t cope at that level.

But that was probably Martin’s worst game for a couple of years. It started early on when he missed the small fouls and players get frustrated and lose respect in his decision making. We saw Sane commit a reckless challenge on Lingard and he wasn’t cautioned, five minutes later Herrera does the same on Fernandinho and he was cautioned, there was no difference between the two challenges.

Young was very fortunate to not give away a penalty for handball. I’ve refereed him many times and I can tell you he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew Sterling was behind him and he deflects the ball away with his arm. It’s difficult for Martin but once again we’ve seen an assistant referee not have the courage to come in and help the referee out.

On the penalty appeal in the second half, Martin cuts the assistant out straight away and that’s telling the assistant it’s not a penalty. Not only was it a penalty it was a poor, poor challenge and Young should have been sent off and I don’t understand how Martin didn’t think that was a penalty.

A few seconds later Martin lost control of the game because Fernandinho put in an awful challenge on Lingard and that should have resulted in a red card too.


Andre Marriner (Arsenal vs Southampton)

The game didn’t start well for Andre because as I said you want to get those small fouls under your belt, he’s missed a poor challenge from Tadic on Nelson which I think was a red card. He was too detached from play, too far from the incident and then it all went off in the last few minutes.

Once again, if he’d blown up early for the first shirt pull we wouldn’t have got to where we did because Wilshere’s carried on and carried on and you can understand why Stephens retaliated like that. But you run the risk when you react like that.

I thought Elneny’s red card was very harsh and a caution would have sufficed, it was handbags at best. [Elneny’s suspension was overturned earlier this week].


Kevin Friend (Chelsea vs West Ham United)

I have to say I thought West Ham should have had a late penalty when I watched it, but you look at it again and wonder if Kante’s won the ball. The referee will look at the change in direction of the ball and it takes four or five replays to see Kante hasn’t played the ball but there’s no criticism of Kevin Friend in that one for me.


Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (Manchester City vs Liverpool)

Another referee who didn’t stamp his authority early on. He’s caused the Mane/Otamendi incident by taking his eye off the game. Mane’s unfortunate because he’s slipped but he didn’t stop that situation straight away and it’s led to Ederson coming charging out and everyone’s got involved.

I think Mane’s was a caution and no more but Ederson was perhaps a bit lucky because he’s come out to try and get him sent off and he’s pushed Mane at least four or five times, but I think two cautions were correct.

Then we’ve had a catastrophic error from the officials to disallow the Manchester City goal. The referee and the assistant are in good positions but the best seat in the house is the additional official. If City go 2-0 up there it’s a different game, the extra official has to come in there and there has to be a conversation, it was a catastrophic error by the match officials.

I don’t condone what Guardiola did at half-time because you should never address the referee on the pitch, you should always wait in the tunnel if you want to speak to the officials.


Michael Oliver (Real Madrid vs Juventus)

It takes a lot of courage and a lot of bravery to give that decision and for me it is the correct decision. What is Benatia doing? He’s the wrong side of Vasquez and he’s no chance of winning the ball from where he is. Michael has given it straight away, he wasn’t indecisive and he was absolutely correct.

If there was an error in that sequence of events you could say he should have sent Benatia off for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity, but he had almost the whole Juventus team to deal with. The pleasing thing was he kept calm during the whole thing, Buffon’s one of the nicest guys you could meet but he’s lost his head.

I would hope to see UEFA take action against Juventus for failing to control their players. If you look at the game as a whole, that’s the first game of that magnitude Michael has refereed and he could have maybe managed one or two cautions better but I understand why he didn’t. The players don’t know him as well at that level and I thought he did ever so well for his first game of that magnitude, you can’t criticism him.


You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey

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