Aug 22, 2013, 9:43 AM EST
If I were a Villa supporter I’d be standing at the office water cooler right now and telling all the interns about how referee Kevin Friend screwed us last night.
There’s simply no other way to look at it.
If Ivanovic had connected with Benteke’s face like he meant, they’d be chopping down trees for journos to write about the broken bones in ‘Tekers’ face.
The failure to issue Ivanovic his marching orders changed the game and denied Villa a share of the points.
Two minutes after the elbow incident Ivanovic went on to smash a sensational header that, as my astute colleague Adrienne was quick to point out, was quite similar to his goal in the Europa League final.
Of course it would never have happened had Friend simply sent Ivanovic for an early bath.
The irony of the Ivanovic situation is mind-blowing.
Last April, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez infamously bit Ivanovic’s arm during the Reds match at Stamford Bridge. Suarez was spared being sent off because the ref failed to see the incident. The Uruguayan then went on to score in the seventh minute of injury time to secure his side a 2-2 draw.
The referee that day?
None other than our good buddy, Mr. Friend. You can’t make this stuff up.
Back to yesterday’s match. It wasn’t just that Friend allowed Ivanovic to stay on and claim the winner – it’s that the man in black also failed to whistle the Chelsea defender for being offsides on the goal.
It should never have counted.
Finally, there was the handball by Big Country John Terry. As Robbie Mustoe noted in NBCSN’s post-match analysis, it was “an unnatural position” for the arm to be in and should’ve been a penalty.
A dissenter could argue that the incident was less likely to be called because it was late in the match, but that logic still admits the fact that it was a penalty. A dissenter could also argue that Terry’s arm was only in the high-five position because he was fouled. If that was the case, then Friend should’ve called the foul.
The most troubling thing about the missed hand-ball call is that Friend was literally 10 feet away and looking directly at the play when it happened. That’s a penalty every day of the week and twice on Tuesday.
Kevin Friend screwed Villa. And they deserved better.
- Looking back on 2013: Talking through Real Salt Lake’s path to MLS Cup 1
- WATCH: PST Extra – Will Everton upset Arsenal? Can Man United bounce back vs. Newcastle? 0
- Prindi’s Premier League Picks: Sunderland and Everton to upset odds 4
- Kyle Martino chats Andre Villas-Boas drama and Premier League parity 0
- Mike Magee Wins 2013 MLS Most Valuable Player Award 5
- USA fear toughest ever World Cup draw but relish chance to make history 5
- 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw: Everything you need to know 3
- Premier League Playback: Moyes needs more, Suarez is Superman, Altidore (finally) off the mark 5
- What US Soccer wants from the World Cup draw (22)
- Sit down with Orlando City SC: Taking on Beckham, emulating the Timbers and Kaka in 2015 – Part I (21)
- Video of Jermaine Jones’ terrific goal Saturday for Schalke (19)
- 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw: The sum of all fears scenario for the United States (17)
- World Cup Draw: United States in Pot Three (11)