Former Premier League referee Graham Poll has hailed Michael Oliver’s courage in awarding Real Madrid a late penalty against Juventus on Wednesday night.
English referee, Michael Oliver, adjudged Mehdi Benatia to have fouled Lucas Vazquez in added time at the Bernabeu in the Champions League quarter-final second leg.
Juve had lost the home fixture 3-0, but were back on level terms at the Bernabeu with a brace by Mario Mandzukic, and Blaise Matuidi’s strike, before Michael Oliver pointed to the spot in injury time after Medhi Benatia appeared to knee Lucas Vasquez in the back.
Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was shown a red card for his uncontrollable protests, before Ronaldo dispatched the penalty as Wojciech Szczesny took the place of his captain in goal.
Meanwhile, former referee Poll insists Oliver got both calls correct, but regrets the 33-year old will not be officiating in this sumner’s World Cup.
He wrote in the Mail;
“Michael Oliver justified the decision with some very strong but correct refereeing in the Bernabeu. With the scores level in a gripping quarter-final heading for extra time, Oliver was courageous enough to award a penalty.”
“Surrounded and disgracefully harassed by half a dozen or so menacing Juventus players, led by their talismanic captain, Oliver – 33 – stayed calm and correctly dismissed Gianluigi Buffon for his aggressive protests.
“What a pity the FA didn’t promote Oliver sooner so he could have been eligible for the World Cup.”
Moreover, Real Madrid boss Zidane does not see anything wrong with the referee’s decision;
“It was a penalty, they’ve told me it was a penalty. I didn’t see it. The ref awarded it and we can’t change that, but I think it was a penalty,” Zidane said.
“Cristiano is used to these situations. He doesn’t feel pressure. He scored the penalty and we got the win.
“There is nothing left to say. We’re in the semi-finals and we’re happy with that. They played well but we were just average, the difference is we kept believing until the end. We deserved to go through to the semi-finals over the course of the tie and we can be pleased with that.”
Zidane added: “It wasn’t a strange game, but we didn’t expect to concede in the first minute. When that happens, heads drop and the opposition gain in confidence. They approached the game in the right way and we didn’t. We had problems controlling the game.
“I knew we would be up against it, but I didn’t expect what happened in the first minute. We knew that we’d have to dig in against a side that put in a great performance and that press high up the pitch.
“I didn’t see us going out because I’m a positive person. I told my players we were going to be troubled, that it would be tricky.”
Meanwhile, Mehdi Benatia admitted to have made contact with Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez. He told BeinSports; I slightly pushed and made contact with Vazquez in the back but hoped he wouldn’t go down, in the end if that happened to one of us then we’d also be screaming for a penalty. Football is like this sometimes.