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Controversial Ampadu red card consigns Venezia to defeat in relegation six-pointer against Salernitana


Meanwhile, in Italy: Ethan Ampadu was sent off on Tuesday for seemingly winning the ball in a 50-50 with Franck Ribéry — yes, that Ribéry, who evidently isn’t retired! — with 10-man Venezia subsequently going on to lose at home, 2-1 to Salernitana, who were bottom of the Serie A table coming in.

Salernitana’s 95th-minute winner, sealing their comeback win from an early 1-0 deficit, rubbed salt in the wounds of what was essentially an early-season relegation six-pointer between two of the newly promoted sides from Serie B.

The sense of injustice for the home side was deep enough to compel even club president Duncan Niederauer, once the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, to voice an accusation of unfair treatment of his club. He certainly would know a thing or two about the big boys manipulating things to their advantage against the little guys, wouldn’t he?

“What happened tonight is the same thing that happened last season at Salernitana, when the match was stolen by the referee’s decisions. [...] The appeal that I’m making is for Venezia to be treated like any other club in Serie A. There is VAR for cases like these, and this evening it has not been used properly.

“We play our game correctly, and I would like the rest of the people involved in the games to do their job correctly as well.”

-Duncan Niederauer; source: Venezia FC

Replays of just this incident are somewhat hard to find, but you can see the tackle in question starting around the 2:26 mark of this official highlights video from Serie A.

Ampadu, facing his own goal, receives the ball from the left center-back and captain, Pietro Ceccaroni. Ampadu, who had come on half-time and was given a yellow card a few minutes prior for another innocuous challenge, lets the ball run through him as he steps over it to turn and be able to face play. But Ribéry is already moving to close down and is closer than Ampadu had thought. So the ball is certainly there to be won between the two players, but Ampadu comes away with it from the 50-50. The referee however sees it as not only a foul, but a straight red card offense (presumably a last-man challenge), and the referee stuck by his decision even after VAR suggested a review.

If you slow the video down, I suppose you can talk yourself into seeing Ampadu hit Ribéry’s foot first, then the ball, but watching the incident live and at full replay speed, the decision certainly seems egregious and shocking.

Presumably Venezia will contest the red card and Ampadu’s suspension, but the points dropped mean that they remain just barely above the relegation zone after 10 games played this season.

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