Kung-Fu Hussle: Referee loses control in the J-League

The action below comes from Sunday’s J-League meeting between Nagoya Grampus Eight and the Urawa Red Diamonds. With Urawa holding a slim 1-nil lead heading into the final stages, order and control was lost by the match officials as a series of flare-ups began popping up all over the pitch in the final minutes of play.

The first incident arrived in the 82th minute.

Urawa (playing in white) forward Robson Ponte (pictured) was found battling with Nagoya’s towering centre-half Takahiro Masukawa as the defender shepherded the ball out of play for a home throw-in. Eventually the ball crept over the touchline, however by this stage the pair has become all too familiar with one-another as tempers frayed with the ball running dead.

Despite being several inches shorter than his opponent, Brazilian Ponte refused to back down from the confrontation and, with the pair head to head, Ponte appeared to tease the Nagoya number 5 by motioning towards a headbutt. Despite any contact appearing to have been made, Masukawa took his cue and threw himself to the fall as if to feign injury, before leaping to his feet seconds later with the red mist having clearly descended.

Amazingly, neither player saw red.

Then came incident number two in the 85th minute. With Nagoya still looking to equalise, a cross was over-hit to the back post where Urawa full-back Hajime Hosogai looked to see the ball run out of play. However, again a Nagoya player, Yuki Haki, was on the scene to make life slightly harder for the number 3, with Hosogai opting to lose his composure and shoulder-charge Haki onto the deck, even though the ball was several feet ahead of the pair.

Again the limp-wristed officials refused to take appropriate action, provoking Nagoya’s Milos Bajalica to start throwing his weight around. Again, no-one saw red.

The last incident rammed home just how weak the referee was.

Seconds later Nagoya’s number 8, pint-size Brazilian midfielder Magnum, felt that he had been unfairly pushed to the ground in a chase for a loose ball. With the ref again refusing to blow his whistle, Magnum charged over to the man in black and started screaming in the official’s face before the ref eventually pulled out a yellow card. The frustration was written all over Magnum’s face.

Footage of all the incidents referenced above can be seen here.


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