Liverpool 2 Sunderland 2: the beachball’s revenge

Image: Mrs Logic

Are we destined
to give away fluke goals to inferior opposition on a weekly basis? Arsenal and Liverpool have already profited. Will, next week, a spectacular Nani dive end in such a fashion that the ball bounces off his back and creeps into the goal when we play Man United?

Liverpool fans will claim they deserved revenge for the Darren Bent shot deflected off a beachball thrown onto the pitch by a (Liverpool) supporter last season. But most of them admit the better team won on that occasion.

Did the better team snatch a draw today, or were Sunderland unlucky not to produce a very rare Anfield victory?

I was unable to see or hear the match – whether via the usually excellent commentary of Gary Bennett and Nick Barnes on BBC Radio N**cas**e, or on one of those dodgy internet streams. Work required me to interview the French band Moussu T e lei Jovents in Marseille, and I relied on SMS messages from the game and occasional glimpses at internet text reports.

So I have only the word of every report I saw up to a few minutes ago that Stuart Attwell should never have given a goal when Michael Turner tried to put the ball back to Mignolet, for the keeper to take a free kick, only for Liverpool to intercept the non-pass and score (whatever lack of sportsmanship may have been involved, Attwell has since been backed by a referees’ body*).

And I only have their word for it that we went on to outplay Liverpool and that Bent’s double deserved to seal a rare Anfield victory for us. And I don’t even say Attwell should be boiled in oil; players make worse mistakes all the time.

Pete Sixsmith was there and naturally sent his Sixer’s Sevens verdict soon after the final whistle. Pete, by the way, loves Moussu T …

When his fuller Soapbox report from the game appears here will be governed by timing (he might even, on reflection, sympathise with Mr Attwell for all I know). I will be on the road from the south of France back to London, setting off Monday, and have a feeling French traffic cops would frown on using the laptop while driving on the autoroute.

Normal-ish service should resume on Wednesday, if another pair of hands hasn’t been able to help out in the meantime.

And we have two one decent Manchester United previews lined up, one a set of responses provided by a pal who was never quite good enough to play for his beloved Red Devils and had to make do with the lesser glory of having trials with Bury.

Oh, and he’s from Manchester more or less, which seems rather novel for a United fan. The other preview is from the admirable Republik of Mancunia site and both will go live in the second half of next week.

Nani hasn’t yet been asked for his thoughts on the game.

* The Professional Game Match Officials body insists the correct decisions were made:

“According to the Laws of the Game, having stopped the game for any infringement the referee is required to ‘indicate the restart of the match’.

In practice, in the majority of cases, referees indicate for the restart by gesturing to players to take the kick. These gestures can be minimal. For the more important ‘ceremonial’ free-kicks, which also involve control of the defensive wall, referees can indicate by using the whistle. However, there is no requirement by Law to use the whistle to make the indication.

The ball is then in play when it is kicked and moves. So, in this case, the ball was in play as soon as it is kicked by a Sunderland player.

Also, the Laws state that the free-kick must be taken from the place where the infringement occurred. Again, in this case, the referee correctly determined that the free-kick was played from the right place.”


Colin Randall

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8 thoughts on “Liverpool 2 Sunderland 2: the beachball’s revenge”

  1. My point Keith has nothing to do with what everyone thought Michael Turner’s intentions were but that so many professionals do not know the laws which govern their sport. I find it astounding that people who get paid phenomenal amounts are not schooled in the rules of the game and can put themselves in such a position. Ignorance of the law is no excuse and it would be hypocritical of me to denounce Torres and Kuyt for playing to the rules when I would have praised Sunderland players for being alert and aware.

    The laws of the game state:

    Free kick outside the penalty area
    • all opponents must be at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball until it is in play
    • the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves
    • the free kick is taken from the place where the infringement occurred or from the position of the ball when the infringement occurred (according to the infringement)

    Turner should know that. He kicked the ball. It moved. Furthermore he kicked it from the spot where the incident occurred therefore the ball was live. He wasn’t seeking to gain an advantage but he was sloppy and unprofessional. The only reason why the goal should have been disallowed was if Torres wasn’t ten yards away or if (as I thought I heard) the whistle blew after his backheel.

    As for Di Canio who was rightly praised at the time. No he shouldn’t have been sent off because the law states that a red card shall be shown for:

    • denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)

    He denied his own team a goal scoring opportunity so shouldn’t have had a red card.

    With football now a multi million pond industry and no longer a simple pastime you would think those in positions of authority would show some professionalism, learn the rules and teach them to their employees

  2. Not the case there is not doubt that Turner was not taking a free kick.From his actions it can be seen he didn’t believe the game was live from the actions of Torres stopping to wait for the carbuncle of a ref to give him permission to continue that he didn’t believe the game was live. Following the letter of the law, what does that mean. Da Canio deliberatley handled the ball in the famous incident, he should have been sent off( by the letter of the law), but common sense prevailed and he was lauded for sportsmanship. In football many goals come from mistakes but this was farcical, and I would feel ashamed and uneasy if Sunderland had scored such a goal its just not cricket. A player cannot lose his dignity then hide behind the rule book, there is a spirit to the game and Liverpool did that spirit a diservice and that is a burden they alone will have to bear.

  3. I was surprised last year how many players, managers and pundits didn’t understand the rules of football when the beach ball incident occurred. When I was about 10 a similar incident in “You are the Ref” in “Roy of the Rovers” comic was pretty specific. A dog ran on the pitch and diverted the ball into the goal. The ruling was that the ball was dead at the point it hit the dog and the game should restarted with a dropped ball. Never forgot it. Yesterday’s incident was bad luck on our part, lack of thought from Turner and quick thinking by Torres.

    The fact that Torres might not have been 10 yards away could be relevant. I thought I heard the whistle blow after Turner’s back heel. If either of those is correct then the free kick should have been retaken. But if they aren’t they I’m afraid to say that I have to agree with KopThisMate much as I hate to. The ball was in the right place and it was stationary. Once it travels its circumference it can be played by another player. I would have wanted the goal to had it been Bent and Welbeck involved.

    After last week though we seem to have lost 4 points through bizarre goals in 8 days.

  4. Hmm, yes well i think it is deserved, as the beach-ball goal last season, by the letter of the law, should not have stood, regardless of who “should” have won. And this goal, whilst seeming unfair to Sunderland fans, wasn’t the cruelest of blows. The player played the ball form standstill. whether or not he was playing it back for the keeper to take, he should not have kicked the ball back. Torres was right to pounce on the mistake. So if you should blame anyone, blame Turner for not using his head.

  5. Usual health warning:

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