Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
“It seemed as though Pogatetz grabbed him around the neck. That happens in penalty boxes all the time. We’ve had referees coming to meet the players a couple of years ago and they said it would be stamped out with one warning and then a red card. But nothing ever happens.” – Sir Alex Ferguson.
Hardly a single Manchester United match passes without some incident of ill-discipline making the headlines, and Monday’s night match with Middlesbrough proved no different.
In fairness to the Red Devils the aggressor in this latest episode was Emanuel “Mad Dog” Pogatetz, and man loathed at Old Trafford ever since his disgraceful foul on Rodrigo Possebon earlier on in the season in the Carling Cup. (A close up of that foul can be seen here, 1.20 secs in.)
Throughout the first half last night Ronaldo and Pogatetz kept gnawing at each other, with the feud peaking during a corner when the Boro defender grabbed Ronaldo around his neck. With his eyes firmly fixed on the Portuguese number 7, Mad Dog showed no interest in the play rather focusing his attention on throttling Ronaldo, with the United forward (typically) throwing himself to the ground once contact was made.
Tensions boiled up at the break. With the teams heading to the dressing room Ronaldo made it his business to catch up to Pogatetz, sneaking up on the Austrian and pushing him from behind. The handbags were then quickly whipped out as Pogatetz went head-to-head with Ronaldo, before players from each side stepped in to try and defuse the situation.
In a separate incident from the game, Park Ji-Sung was guilty of one of the misses of the season when he scooped a shot over the bar from three yards out.
See Park’s horrific miss here. (Apologises for the quality of the video.)