Hits & misses: Is Tuchel right to feel offside ‘betrayal’?

Is Tuchel right to feel offside ‘betrayal’?

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel says the decision to disallow a late goal for his side was against every rule of modern football

“It’s a disastrous decision from the linesman and from the referee. It feels almost like a betrayal.”

Thomas Tuchel took no time in bringing up the elephant in the room in his post-match interview. The Bayern Munich boss clearly felt Matthijs de Ligt’s last-minute equaliser which cost his side in their Champions League semi-final loss to Real Madrid should have stood after the officials called offside too early.

Why were Bayern Munich annoyed?

Matthijs De Light put the ball in the net late on for Bayern Munich, which would have surely taken the game into extra-time.

However, a few seconds before De Ligt shot, referee Szymon Marciniak had already blown for offside against Noussair Mazraoui.

But replays showed the Bayern defender was onside, with the assistant – who is instructed to keep his flag down for tight calls so VAR can review the call – making a clear error in raising his flag and provoking the referee to whistle.

Whether Real’s players would have stopped De Ligt scoring had the whistle not gone is open to debate, but it was a bad mistake from the officials at a critical time.

There is no doubt the linesman and referee Szymon Marciniak should have waited to call offside and let play develop to allow VAR to check everything. It was a clear mistake and both officials apologised to Tuchel and the Bayern players.

But doubts remain over whether the early whistle actually stopped a clear goal. Two Real Madrid defenders stopped after the whistle went, which allowed Thomas Muller to head towards De Ligt. Goalkeeper Andriy Lunin also made no attempt to save De Ligt’s shot once the whistle went.

Bayern were furious after not being given a late equaliser
Image:
Bayern were furious after not being given a late equaliser

Yes, Bayern were denied a clear shot on goal, but would Real have successfully defended that whole opportunity had the whistle not gone?

Either way, this is a debate that will go long beyond Wednesday night’s full-time whistle.
Sam Blitz

Joselu heroics sum up Real’s relationship with the Champions League

Joselu scored twice in three minutes late on to send Real Madrid to the Champions League final
Image:
Joselu scored twice in three minutes late on to send Real Madrid to the Champions League final

Eight years ago this week, Joselu sat unused on the Selhurst Park substitutes’ bench, not even deemed good enough to come on and rescue a result for Stoke, who ended up losing 2-1 to Crystal Palace.

Nobody would have backed the Spanish striker to eventually send Real Madrid to a Champions League final with two goals against Bayern Munich. But that’s just how football works sometimes.

In fact, it’s how Real Madrid operate. The Spanish side have won four matches despite conceding the first goal in the UEFA Champions League this season, the most since – yep you guessed it, Real Madrid in the 2016-17 season.

Add Joselu to a long list of Real comeback heroes. Rodrygo downed Chelsea and Manchester City with multiple late strikes on their way to winning it in 2022. Cristiano Ronaldo used Champions League comebacks at the Santiago Bernabeu like his play things in his prime.

Real have their Champions League mojo back. And it will take some Dortmund force to stop them at Wembley in June.
Sam Blitz

Sancho does the dirty work to stifle Mbappe

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Jadon Sancho and his Borussia Dortmund teammates celebrate reaching the Champions League final

Not many people would have guessed Jadon Sancho would be Dortmund’s key defender to stifle Kylian Mbappe.

In the first leg in Dortmund, Sancho was the key attacking spark on the pitch and could have ended up with a hat-trick of assists. The return leg in Paris saw him have a different role.

Mats Hummels and Jadon Sancho celebrate making the Champions League final
Image:
Mats Hummels and Jadon Sancho celebrate making the Champions League final

The England winger doubled up with right-back Julian Ryerson to stop PSG’s dynamic No 7. It ended up being a brilliant defensive display that left Sancho with seven ball recoveries, with six possessions won in the defensive and middle thirds. Mbappe, meanwhile, had just five shots.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The Athletic’s David Ornstein and The Mirror’s John Cross discuss Dortmund’s 2-0 aggregate win over PSG

Sancho also ended up with a forward passing percentage of 63.64 per cent – the highest on the pitch. When Dortmund needed to get up the pitch and relieve pressure on the backline, Sancho was their calm and effective figure.

So Sancho can show attacking flair and do the dirty work. He’d be a golden addition to any squad in Europe. Are you watching, Erik?
Sam Blitz

Mbappe rendered anonymous

Kylian Mbappe left disappointed by Champions League exit in final season at PSG
Image:
Kylian Mbappe will be left disappointed by his Champions League exit in his final season at PSG

This is not the Kylian Mbappe we’ve become accustomed to, the one who so often rises to the big occasion.

This is a player with 48 Champions League goals. He has scored the most goals in World Cup finals. He’s up there with the world-renowned best.

None of that was on show against Dortmund. The German side schooled him. Across 180 minutes of football, Mbappe was rendered virtually anonymous. Simply marked out of the game.

Credit must be given to Dortmund’s dynamic defensive pairing – Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck – but questions must also be asked of the PSG No 7, who is leaving the Parc des Princes at the end of this season without so much as a sniff of the Champions League title his club so badly crave – and the silverware he was meant to hand deliver.

Subdued and indecisive, as well as wasteful, Mbappe lost possession 18 times on Tuesday night. Of the 12 touches he had in the opposition box, three ended in shots on target, but none troubled Gregor Kobel.

“Football is so unfair,” manager Luis Enrique moaned post-match. Often that’s true. But not here. PSG’s stars were off colour while the entire Dortmund contingent showed how rewarding a cohesive game plan – carried out with unwavering commitment – can be.
Laura Hunter

Dortmund’s defenders make up the Yellow Wall

Dortmund would not be moved in Paris
Image:
Dortmund would not be moved in Paris

They say you earn your luck. Well, Dortmund’s defenders certainly did at PSG.

Luis Enrique pointed towards PSG striking the woodwork six times over the course of the two legs as to why they deserved to go to the Wembley final at Dortmund’s expense. But Dortmund’s backline did not deserve to lose either.

The back four of Julian Ryerson, Mats Hummels, Nico Schlotterbeck and Ian Maatsen – the latter formerly of Burnley and Coventry – made 36 clearances combined at the Parc des Princes, 12 of them with their head, and won 24 duels. They will all sleep well tonight, if they can amid the celebrations.

Dortmund will now bring the Yellow Wall to Wembley, but there will be a second, smaller wall in front of the goal. Whoever lines up in attack against them in the Champions League final will not want to come up against this quartet.
Sam Blitz

Book Fury vs Usyk on Sky Sports Box Office

Fury vs Usyk

It’s one of the biggest sporting events in a generation. Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk collide for the undisputed world heavyweight title on Saturday May 18, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *