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Sorry Pixie, but the ref was spot on

4 Jan 2010(Mon)

January 2, 2010: As much as I admire and respect Dragan Stojkovic, I cannot agree with his assessment of the “Tamada Incident” on New Year's Day.

Basically, Pixie thought Grampus should have been awarded a penalty in the 74th minute when Keiji Tamada went down in the Gamba box. It was 1-1 at the time, and the final scoreline of “Gamba 4 Grampus 1” could have been very different if a penalty had been given, the Grampus manager said in his post-match press conference.

Sorry Pixie, but I thought the ref, Kenji Ogiya, got it absolutely right in showing Tamada a yellow card for diving. After a patient build-up on the right flank, Tamada surged into the Gamba box. He was in the perfect position to let fly with his right foot, but instead of trying to score a goal he threw himself down in the hope of winning a penalty.

Had the ball been on Tamada's infinitely stronger left foot, then surely he would have shot, but it was on his other foot so he declined the opportunity. It was a clear yellow card for diving/simulation, and I applauded the referee for his strong response. After all, it was New Year's Day, not April Fool's Day.

Pixie, however, saw it differently. “It was a very clear penalty kick but he got a yellow card for simulation,” he told the media.

“I am not sure it was simulation. I have just spoken with Tamada in the dressing room and he said he was touched by the defender of Gamba. From what I saw on the bench, Gamba was very lucky.”

In situations like this, I'd like to see the manager ask his own player why he dived rather than tried to score a goal, and if necessary admonish him. This does not have to be in public, but in private behind closed doors once the emotion has died down a day or two after the game.

Pixie was right in saying that the final result could have been very different – but not if the referee had awarded a penalty; if Tamada had scored from this clear shooting opportunity.

Let's take nothing away from Gamba. It was a fantastic display to win the Emperor's Cup, and you wonder where the motivation and concentration comes from when they had already clinched their place in the Asian Champions League.


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