See, I thought this one was the right decision from the ref. Don't get me wrong, it's an unfortunate slip from the defender and Neymar makes a meal of it, but he's under no obligation to go round the defender - he's simply taking the most direct route to the ball. Going around the falling defender, or even jumping over him, puts him at a disadvantage by allowing the other defenders that extra split second to react to him. This is all happening in the blink of an eye too - he hardly has the benefit of a slow-mo replay to figure out how to avoid the defender. I'd be absolutely foaming if the ref didn't give a penalty if that happened to a Newcastle player.
es to FC Barcelona and Real Madrid oh boy. It's always the same story.
All that said, the Suarez penalty decision was embarrassing. He should be ashamed of himself but, given his previous antics and the outcome of the game, I doubt he is. It's a shame there won't be any retroactive punishment for him. It's also a shame such a remarkable result has to be tarnished by that too - a fantastic game to watch as a neutral, but that definitely mars it significantly.
Still, PSG shat the bed with such force they blew a hole through the mattress. Does anyone think, given the reactionary nature of a lot of clubs, this might cost Emery his job? Not necessarily saying it should do - people were singing his praises after the first leg, afterall, which was equally reactionary. They're still in the hunt for all three domestic trophies, but it's really Champions League success they're after and why they opted for Emery too. They did give Blanc quite a while, from what I recall, so maybe not.
I'll bring the rules of the game into this.
The following conditions must be met for an offense to be considered a foul:
-it must be committed by a player -> This point is very debatable. If the defender had willingly thrown himself at Neymar, causing him to lose balance and fall on the ground, then no question about it. However, as the replay shows, Neymar was the one running into the player and diving on the ground. He had a view of the action, he could see the player falling and, if he wanted, he could have ran around him. He's fast enough for it.
-it must occur on the field of player(True)
-it must occur while the ball is in play(True)
But let's go with it. Now the fouls are divided into two groups: Six and Four.
This type of foul falls in the group of Six, which are:
-Kick or attempt to kick an opponent (N/A)
-Trip or attempt to trip an opponent
Jump at an opponent (N/A)
Charge an opponent (N/A)
Strike or attempt to strike an opponent (N/A)
-Push an opponent (N/A)
Very well. Tripping or attempting to trip an opponent can be grounds for a foul.. However, the point of the group of Six is that the referee must look at how the challenge happened, not the action itself.
For this, he looks for three different characteristics: Carelessness, Recklessness, Excessive force
-Careless means the player shown a lack of attention or consideration when making his challenge. Was the defender careless in this case? I don't think so. He simply lost balance and fell down after the pass from Neymar. He tries to keep himself on his legs but loses balance and falls. He wasn't even making a challenge at Neymar, at least not yet. So we can safely rule this out.
-Reckless means he acted with complete disregard for the wellbeing of his ponent. Was he reckless? I don't think so. He doesn't aim at attacking Neymar. He simple is trying to run towards the ball, and loses balance. Had he aimed his fall towards Neymar, or directly on Neymar's path, then he would have been reckless. But he wasn't. So we can safely rule this out.
-Excessive Force is pretty self explanatory; exceeding the use of force when challenging a player. Clearly there's no excessive force going on here.
So for all those reasons, this likely couldn't be considered a foul. At lest, not one that warranted a penalty (or a direct free kick).
But what about impeding the progress of a player?
Glad you asked. What do the rules say about impeding the progress of a player?
Impeding the progress of an opponent means moving into the path of the opponent to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction by an opponent when the ball is not within playing distance of either.
Emphasis mine. Clearly the block was within playing distance of both; in fact, Neymar was already moving to pass through the defender's side, and he had the speed to overtake him easily. If he had stepped up his pace a bit more, which he could, he would have easily passed by him and received the ball in awesome condition. But he didn't. He slowed down, because he saw the defender on the ground, and timed his step perfectly to be able trip on him and claim the penalty. Look at his left foot almost stepping on the defender's hand, look at him raising his hands in the air getting ready to drop down and show that "he didn't push the defender". All telltale signs of someone who was intending on milking this golden egg as much as he could.
But even then, all of this foul would have to rely on the fact that the defender intentionally jumped on Neymar's way. And, from the video evidence, he didn't. He fell down. Players fall down and hit other players all the time. 99% of the time, the play goes on. It's a contact sport after all. But it didn't, in this case. Because Neymar is a diving little bitch.
So there you go. By the rules of the game, there was no foul, no infraction, therefore no penalty. I can understand the referee being in a bad position, errors happen. We have the replays to look at and understand.
But if this doesn't make a strong case for the use of video when settling these sorts of decisions, I don't know what will.