Don’t blame the ref! Michael Owen understands Nani red card decision

Stoke's Michael Owen says referee Cuneyt Cakir shouldn't be blamed for dismissing Nani in Man United's 2-1 loss to Real Madrid

michael owen
Michael Owen joined Stoke on a free transfer last summer Photo: Phil Greig / Stoke City FC

michael owen

Michael Owen says referee Cuneyt Cakir should not be blamed for following the rules and sending off Nani in Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat by Real Madrid at Old Trafford.

With the Red Devils edging close to a place in the last eight courtesy of Sergio Ramos’s own goal, Nani was issued with a straight red for a high tackle on Alvaro Arbeloa in the 58th minute.

Madrid capitalised on the man advantage, with Luka Modrić and Cristiano Ronaldo both netting in a three-minute spell to secure the defending La Liga champions’ place in the quarter-finals.

Cakır has come under criticism for his game-changing decision, but former Red Devils striker Owen can understand why the Turkish official decided to send off the winger.

“Plenty of fallout from last night’s game. Main talking point that changed the tie was the sending off. It’s all about interpretation,” ex-Manchester Untied striker Owen wrote on his Twitter page.

“Endangering the safety of a player is a sending off according to the rule book. You have to say that the challenge did fall into that category. Not in a million years would we see a red card for that in the Premier League but on the continent it’s a definite red.

“Can’t really blame the referee for it as he is obliged to play to the rules but it’s a hard one to take bearing in mind there was no intent.

“The rule book is the same throughout the world. I wouldn’t have sent him off if I were the referee but again, it goes back to interpretation.

“Wasn’t too impressed with Madrid. Until the sending off they were struggling. Sticking to my pre-tournament fancies Bayern Munich to win it.”

He added: “I watched the game with [Graeme] Souness and [Steve] McManaman. Me and Macca thought it wasn’t a red but Souness thought it was.

“One of the lads also called a well-known Premier League Ref who also said it was a definite red card. Again, I don’t think it was.”

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