The Disparity In These Red-Card Calls Will Make Your Blood Boil (Unless You’re A Liverpool Fan)

Liverpool once again used a red card to beat Atlético Madrid.

On Wednesday morning, the NCAA slammed Oklahoma State’s men’s basketball team with a postseason ban for an infraction that happened four years ago where the only player involved received a mere $300 (players are now allowed to be paid). For fans of college sports, this was yet another case of the NCAA crushing a smaller school for a minor infraction while letting the blue bloods of the sport off scot-free for major violations. 

Later on Wednesday, we saw a different example of the big-money teams always getting calls to go their way, this time in the Champions League. While on their own, none of these instances are proof of nefarious, backroom decision-makers dictating how sports must go, they certainly leave a bad taste in the mouths of sports fans around the globe. 

Early on in PSG’s trip to Germany, RB Leipzig was running rampant. Jesse Marsch’s side was again causing all sorts of problems to PSG’s defense, taking the lead through Christopher Nkunku in the eighth minute. 

Moments later, André Silva was taken down from behind by Danilo Pereira while racing in on goal, a clear denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. The referee pointed to the spot, but Pereira was only shown a yellow card for taking out his compatriot without making a play on the ball. Gianluigi Donnarumma then saved Silva’s tame spot kick and PSG rallied to take the lead. Leipzig equalized late on a penalty kick, but the 2-2 draw wasn’t enough to prevent Leipzig from being eliminated from contention for the knockout rounds. 

Now compare that to the red card shown to Felipe in Atlético Madrid’s defeat on Wednesday. Felipe made a tactical foul on Sadio Mané 75 yards from goal, stopping a counterattack but by no means denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Felipe was shown a straight red and Liverpool cruised to a 2-0 win. 

Atlético Madrid Red Card vs Liverpool

So surprising was the red-card decision that it wasn’t initially caught by the camera crew and the announcers were totally clueless at first. 

But as we’ve discussed, some teams just seem to get the benefit of the doubt never afforded others. It’s why Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United teams always got just enough stoppage time to find a late goal, and why a team like OSU gets reamed by the NCAA. 

Not too surprisingly, this was the second straight meeting between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid in which the Reds were aided by a straight red card. On Oct. 19, Antoine Griezmann was sent off for a high boot that incidentally hit Roberto Firmino in the head. Mohamed Salah then scored the winner on a penalty kick. 

Both the red card and penalty calls were correct, though good luck convincing an Atleti fan of that fact. 

On Wednesday, the Atlético Madrid red card vs Liverpool probably didn’t change the outcome of the match. Jürgen Klopp’s side was clearly superior before the red card, racing to a 2-0 lead inside 21 minutes. Then again, Liverpool led 2-0 inside 13 minutes at the Wanda before Atleti equalized ahead of the red card to Griezmann. 

As for the match at Anfield, Trent Alexander-Arnold had two assists to send Liverpool on its way. The first found Diogo Jota, who must’ve smelled funny, elsewise the Atleti defenders would’ve gotten closer to him.

The second was probably a shot that just happened to hit Mané in stride to hit home. 

Liverpool now leads Group B with 12 points, seven ahead of second-place Porto and having clinched a spot in the knockout rounds. Atleti sits on four points with much to play for in its final two matches, including a visit to Porto in the finale of the group stage on Dec. 7. 

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