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Marquinhos was out of order against Gamba

3 Dec 2009(Thu)

November 30, 2009: There was much to admire about Kashima Antlers’ performance against Gamba Osaka on Saturday: The finishing of Koroki, the lovely goal by Nozawa, the sheer effort and focus of the Kashima players to win this crucial match.

But there was something I did not like about Kashima near the end of the game, and something I hope will not be repeated at Saitama Stadium on Saturday if they are on their way to victory and a third consecutive title.

It involved Marquinhos, who decided to show off his skills by flicking the ball up and goading the Gamba players. They were already 5-1 down and this was really rubbing their noses in it.

Myojin was fuming, and steamed in to the next tackle after Marquinhos had passed the ball. And even Gamba striker Pedro Junior, who had been booked for a blatant dive in the first half, wandered over to his fellow Brazilian to ask him what on earth he was doing showing such disrespect.

It was the kind of act that, at worst, could get the player’s leg broken by an angry opponent looking for revenge, or spark a brawl on the pitch and a riot off it. Imagine the scenario if Antlers are winning 2-0 at Saitama Stadium on Saturday with five minutes to go, and Marquinhos decides to taunt the Reds defenders and juggle the ball on the touchline. It could be nasty, and a violent end to the season, so I hope Oswaldo Oliveira makes this clear to his talismanic striker.

I was wondering, in fact, if that was why Marquinhos walked off the pitch into the dugout before the final whistle, leaving his team with 10 men as all three substitutes had been used. The game was won, of course, but at least he was out of harm’s way and safe from a lunging tackle by an irate Gamba player looking for some payback. Oswaldo said Marquinhos had come off because of a slight back injury, but the Antlers manager was also aware of the Gamba players’ anger as the incident happened right in front of the Antlers bench.

No, I didn’t like this unnecessary act by Marquinhos, who has contributed so much to the rise of Antlers under Oswaldo and has been like an assistant coach in the development of Koroki, Tashiro and Osako.

What an occasion Saturday promises to be – Reds trying to stop their bitter rivals from winning the title in their own back yard. It does not need any extra controversy to fuel the fire.

ends

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