There are some sports that believe and even encourage on-pitch justice. Ice hockey (NHL) comes to mind immediately — even if the role of an enforcer is slowly dying out, fights are still condoned and regulated, and if a player targets a player from the opposition, he can expect swift retribution from either the player himself, or the designated protector of the team’s skill players.
It’s a decidedly old-school approach, and one perhaps not fit for modern sensibilities anymore, especially in cases like professional football, which is trending towards a non-contact sport. But some proponents of “street justice” still exist, including 18-year-old Chesea youngster Ethan Ampadu.
Ampadu already announced himself with multiple crunching tackles last season — including one just 90 seconds into his full debut in the League Cup last season, which unfortunately ruled out Jermain Defoe for two months with an ankle injury — so when Kasper Dolberg of Denmark took a cheap shot and hip-checked him into the advertising hoardings in their 2-1 win on Friday, you knew that young Ethan won’t just let this bit of intimidation go. In fact, no sooner had played resumed that Ampadu got him back in the grand ol’ tradition of an eye for an eye.
Dolberg was booked for his “tackle” but on the ensuing throw-in, as he went for a header, Ampadu came steaming in to take him out. Ampadu didn’t bother to disguise “getting even”. That’s some old-school football, right there. He got a yellow. He also got his revenge. And sent a message to the world, too.
Wales manager Ryan Giggs later called Dolberg’s tackle a “cheap shot” and made his feelings known to Denmark manager Age Hareide on the sideline.
Wales captain Ashley Williams backed his young teammate all the way.
“I think he got assassinated first and foremost. You can’t shove someone into the barrier like that. It was brilliant, it was perfect, he didn’t lose his head. They were leaving a bit on us we were leaving a bit on them.
“I just think that once you foul somebody so many times and try to influence the ref we’re going to do something about it. It was nice to see all the boys sticking up for each other and the young lads looking after themselves.”
Ashley Williams; source: Daily Mail
What wasn’t brilliant was the result, which dropped Wales out of contention for promotion. For them, the Nations League is over for this cycle.