Day: August 14, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo faces 12-game ban after pushing referee following red card in Clasico win over Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo faces 12-game ban after pushing referee following red card in Clasico win over Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo faces starting the season with up to a 12-game ban for Real Madrid after pushing the referee following his red card against Barcelona in the Clasico on Sunday evening.

The Portuguese had an eventual cameo at the Nou Camp as he came on as a substitute in the second half before scoring a fine effort to give Real the lead on 80 minutes.

He removed his shirt to celebrate the goal, thus receiving a yellow card, before being shown a second minutes later for an alleged dive when running through on goal.

Ronaldo could not believe the decision was not a penalty, let alone a dive, after going down under pressure from Samuel Umtiti and appeared to shove referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea in the back as he left the field.

The referee did not seem to react at the time but La Liga could take action against the 32-year-old for his behaviour after the manner in which he left the field was included in the official’s report.

“After being shown the red card, the player pushed me gently to show his dissent,” De Burgos wrote in the document that covers all the incidents that occurred in the match.

Under article 96 of the Code of the Spanish Football Federation, it states that any player who “catches, shoots or shakes” a referee in a manner perceived to be violent risks a suspension anywhere between four and 12 matches.

The precedent for “mild violence against referees” is not good reading for Ronaldo, with Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone receiving an eight-game ban after being dismissed in the 2014 Super Cup after tapping the assistant referee on the head after being sent off.

Las Palmas player Marko Livaja was also banned for four games for pushing the referee in a game against Alaves.

If Ronaldo’s actions are deemed worthy of only four games, the suspension will only apply to the Spanish Super Cup, however, any more than four games and the ban will carry over to La Liga matches too.

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Nemanja Matic showed what Manchester United have been missing for years

Nemanja Matic showed what Manchester United have been missing for years

A £75m striker scored a brace on his league debut at Old Trafford on Sunday, but much of the post-match talk on Sir Matt Busby Way was about a defensive midfielder. If that is an indication of how well Nemanja Matic played, it is also a reminder that Manchester United supporters have wanted a player of his kind for some years now.

Matic may be thought of a mere destroyer by some, but ask Jose Mourinho and he is “a player with special qualities”. In the 4-0 rout of West Ham United, the new signing won loose balls, cut out stray passes and showed his taste for a forceful tackle, but what he offered more than anything was control.

United’s midfield has lacked such a presence for a long time now but, under Sir Alex Ferguson, still won league titles without having a player who could be counted on to win a midfield battle. Darren Fletcher was always game and Michael Carrick exerted a different, subtler kind of control on his day, but neither imposed themselves on the action explicitly or consistently enough.

The central midfield role was seriously neglected for years at Old Trafford. To think that David Moyes arrived at Carrington with Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Nick Powell and a 40-year-old Ryan Giggs among his limited options in the position casts his failure at Old Trafford in a more sympathetic light, until you remember his answer was to sign Marouane Fellaini.

But arguably, for the first time since 2008, United’s options in the middle of the park befit the club’s stature once again. In Ander Herrera, they have a tenacious captain in waiting. Paul Pogba’s first year received mixed reviews but the talent is there for all to see. Now, with Matic, there is finally a player capable of dominating the middle of the park and setting a foundation for the rest of the team.

This much was illustrated by one key moment on Sunday. For all the attention on Romelu Lukaku and his two goals, the source of the Belgian’s opener did not go unnoticed at Old Trafford. When West Ham’s Pedro Obiang briefly dithered on the ball in United’s half and before he could atone for his moment’s hesitation, Matic was on him, intercepting the pass Obiang tried to play and deflecting the ball into the path of the electric Marcus Rashford.

Rashford still had much to do to fashion a chance out of the move, and the teenager’s inch-perfect through pass for Lukaku was exquisite, but it was made possible by Matic’s speed in the tackle and vision of the field. From defence to attack with one knick of the ball; that is why Mourinho described him as the “perfect” player for his counter-attacking United.

It would be foolish to read too much into one game mind, especially against a West Ham side that lacked coherence in attack, and doubts remain over Matic after he was so poor while things fell down around Mourinho’s head at Chelsea two years ago. Even after his integral part in Antonio Conte’s title-winning side last season, there was a sense that his time at the club was up and a new beginning was needed. He has that now and, most United supporters would agree, he has started well.

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Sebastian Vettel Wins Hungarian GP

Sebastian Vettel Wins Hungarian GP

Sebastian Vettel increased his drivers’ world championship lead to 14 points on Sunday when he led Kimi Raikkonen home in a dominant Ferrari one-two at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

 In his 50th race for Ferrari, the four-time champion German controlled the contest from pole position in stifling heat to reel off his first win in five races since the Monaco Grand Prix.
 His main title rival Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes finished fourth, after handing a podium finish back to his team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the final lap following a late switch to enable the Briton to attack the two Ferraris.

Dutchman Max Verstappen finished fifth for Red Bull after surviving an opening lap collision with his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo that saw the angry Australian forced into an early retirement.Two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso came home sixth and recorded the fastest lap of the race for McLaren-Honda after a stirring and often remarkable drive.

Vettel, who started the day just a point ahead of Hamilton, increased his lead by another 13 after 11 of this year’s 20 races as the circus takes a now-traditional three-week European summer holiday before the Belgian Grand Prix.

It was Ferrari’s first one-two in Hungary since 2004.

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