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‘Unacceptable’ goal costs Shakhtar’s Luiz Adriano one Champions League match

Nov 27, 2012, 2:10 PM EDT


Last week, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Luiz Adriano screwed up. In UEFA Champions League action, the Brazilian striker took a ball played back to Danish champions Nordsjaelland and scored a goal. He sprinted past a pair of unresponsive central defenders, won a race to the ball that only he was contesting, and dribbled around a bewildered goalkeeper before finishing into an open net.

Today, UEFA has suspended Adriano one match and ordered him to perform one hour of community service for “violation of the principles of conduct” (pasted, below). Shakhtar Donetsk’s owner, Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov, has already said the club will abide by the punishment, calling the behavior “unacceptable.”

The controversy was born from a play we see almost every game. For whatever reason (usually, suspected injury) a ball is played out of bounds or the lead official has stopped play. Be it by throw in or a return ball from a drop kick, the team that had possession is allowed to re-gain it. The event is so common that players rarely have to discuss what’s happening before normal play resumes.

Last week in Copenhagen, somebody should have stopped and talked to Luiz Adriano, because he never stopped playing. Though he conceded after the game that what he thought was a good goal shouldn’t have happened, it’s difficult to believe the thought never occurred to him in real time. Again, this is a play that happens so often that he couldn’t have been caught by surprise. When his team needlessly punted the ball toward Nordsjaelland’s keeper (and nobody on the field reacted), he should have figured it out.

His team certainly did. At least, most of them did. Coach Mircea Lucescu immediately ordered his team to give up a return goal only to see a defender interfere with the concession. The game went on, with Shakhtar winning in Copenhagen, 5-2.

Here’s the goal:

Now Adriano is set to miss next week’s Champions League game against Juventus. Shakhtar, having already secured a place in the knockout round, needs at least a draw to secure first place in Group E (and a much easier route in the knockout round), with a loss giving the packet to Juventus.

That means Chelsea have been hit with some collateral damage from this whole affair. The Blues need to beat Nordsjaelland and have Shakhtar win in order to advance to Champions League’s Round of 16.

In case you’re curious, here are UEFA’s Principles of Conduct — Article 5 of the governing body’s disciplinary regulations:

Article 5 Principles of conduct
Member associations, clubs, as well as their players, officials and members, shall
conduct themselves according to the principles of loyalty, integrity and
For example, a breach of these principles is committed by anyone:
a) who engages in or attempts to engage in active or passive bribery and/or
b) whose conduct is insulting or otherwise violates the basic rules of decent
c) who uses sporting events for manifestations of a non-sporting nature;
d) whose conduct brings the sport of football, and UEFA in particular, into
e) who does not abide by decisions and directives of the Organs for the
Administration of Justice;
f) who does not comply with instructions given by the match officials;
g) who culpably reports for a match late or not at all;
h) who culpably causes a match to be interrupted or abandoned or who is
responsible for its interruption or abandonment;
i) who inscribes on the match sheet a player who is not eligible to play;
j) who acts in a way that is likely to exert an influence on the progress and/or
the result of a match by means of behaviour in breach of the statutory
objectives of UEFA with a view to gaining an undue advantage for himself or
a third party.
k) who commits an act of assault;
l) who participates directly or indirectly in betting or similar activities relating to
UEFA competition matches, or who has a direct or indirect financial interest
in such activities.

  1. Steve Davis - Nov 27, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    What about the manager? I wonder if there should not be some sanction for him, too? Where was the leadership from the bench? Whole thing could have been solved so easily with a bit of proper direction from the boss.

    • Richard Farley - Nov 27, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      Word was Lucescu tried to give the goal back, and his post-match comments certainly seemed consistent with those reports. But it seems that one thwarted attempt to convince his team to conceded an evening goal shouldn’t have stopped him. I suppose people trust the Lucescu had the best intentions at heart, even if he didn’t seem very dogged in imposing them. I do still wonder how Shakhtar didn’t give up one in response.

  2. novisaddude - Nov 27, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Arsenal offered Sheffield United to replay the match when something similar happened in 1998/99 in FA Cup.

  3. mvktr2 - Nov 27, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    I don’t really care for and in fact despise the lets let so and so with a broken leg score a goal, basket, or TD so they can have x-y-z record that seems to happen with regularity in US sports. What I however respect the heck out of is the honest sportsmanship shown on soccer pitches around the world. It’s a shame the honorable principles of the game were violate by Adriano. I must admit though it sure was fun to watch, especially since it didn’t truly effect the outcome of the match.

  4. danielofthedale - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    While I think what Adriano did was about as low class as you can get on a soccer, he in fact broke no rule. No where does it say you must give the ball back If FIFA or UEFA want to make that a rule, go for it but its not right to penalize someone when they in fact did nothing they knew would lead to a suspension.

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