Red Card or Not: Manchester United v. Bayern Munich

Yes, it was a dive.

Wayne Rooney took advantage of a poorly-thought out challenge from Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was already on a yellow. Rooney tripped over him and literally threw himself into the air, arms splayed, head thrown back, like the worst ballerina ever. The dive worked, though; Rooney conned referee Carlos Velasco Carballo into a second yellow card and a sending off in the 90th minute. And then, when Schweinsteiger trudged off, Rooney smirked about it. He knew precisely what he’d done.

So, let’s get this out of the way:

Red card or not: Not

But here’s what I don’t get: Velasco had been deliberately letting things go all day.

The bizarrely tattooed Alexander Buttner (and can I just say now…who??) by all rights should have earned at least a penalty kick for handling the ball in the box. Velasco saw it – he clearly was seen telling the players he saw it – and decided (with a smile) not to give it.

In the 72nd minute, Antonio Valencia had a studs up challenge on Jerome Boateng that left the latter shaken. Velasco again laughed it off, and could be clearly seen explaining to (justifiably angry) Bayern players what he thought happened and why he didn’t give it.

Which, okay, fine. You’re a let-the-game-flow kind of referee. I can respect that.

But then Schweinsteiger slightly mistimes a challenge (maybe), gets the ball, and comes in with his knees (not studs). Rooney trips over him, throws himself into the air in his best Natalie Portman impression…

And you send Schweinsteiger off? In stoppage time, no less?

I didn’t think Velasco had a terrible game, but the sending off was inconsistent with the completely lenient manner in which he’d run the game to that point. Bayern had a right to be confused, at the very least.

Here’s the Rooney dive:

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