Nani red card receives backing
With United leading the Champions League tie 1-0 on the night, the United midfielder was shown a straight red by Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir, after catching Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa in the ribs with his boot.
The crowd at Old Trafford was stunned by the decision to send off the winger, who appeared to be attempting to bring a United clearance under control, but the official saw the manoeuvre as serious foul play, and United were reduced to ten men with half an hour to play.
What followed was two rapid-fire Madrid goals, scored first by Luka Modric and then ex-Red Devil Cristiano Ronaldo, who sent his former side crashing out of the competition 3-2 on aggregate.
Cakir was booed religiously at the final whistle, and was surrounded by United players demanding an explanation, while Reds’ boss Alex Ferguson fumed.
Indeed, Ferguson was too enraged to fulfil his post-match media duties, with assistant boss Mike Phelan speaking to the press in his place.
Meanwhile, Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has suggested that the decision completely changed the dynamic of the game, and said he doubted his team would’ve won had Nani remained on the pitch.
It is a view that will be shared by many a disgruntled United fan.
However, UEFA have backed the referee’s decision, making clear they have no problem with Nani’s red card.
A spokesman said to The Guardian “There are no issues for us regarding the sending off and we will wait for the official reports of the match delegate and the referee’s observer, as is procedure.
“If they raise concerns then we will act. He remains on our list of officials.”
The news came before UEFA decided to take action against United, in light of the events during and following the Round of 16 tie.