Santana Offside

Sore losers is something we’ll always see come to life after painful losses. Malaga couldn’t accept their dramatic defeat to Borussia Dortmund, so Manuel Pellegrini blamed the referee for giving the Germans the match, while the team’s owner, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani, claimed that racism (against who?) was the reason his team didn’t go through.

Looking at the facts, it was simply a terrible night for Scottish official Craig Thompson and his crew, nothing more. Malaga were the first to enjoy a huge offside mistake, as Eilseu foolishly touched the ball Julio Baptista sent towards the goal, effectively becoming an offside scorer, something that was oh so clear on television even from a bad angle, and something the linesman and the box-referee had a clear line of sight to observe, yet do nothing about.

In the 93rd minute, when Dortmund scored their winning goal through Felipe Santana, it was a double offside. First from the cross towards the box, and then by Santana himself, standing on the goalline to provide the crucial touch, while a Malaga player was on the line and goalkeeper Willy Caballero was behind him, effectively making it an offside position.

And then there was Marcel Schmelzer, who sorta hit Jesus Gamez in the face but got away with it, somehow. Even if Thompson didn’t want to give him an immediate red, Schemlzer was booked only minutes earlier, and surely deserved to see the dressing room from up close. On the other hand, Thompson missed a couple of Malaga lunges earlier in the match, calling it wrong because the Spanish players kept diving after making fouls that were close calls.

According to Manuel Pellegrini, “they” didn’t want Malaga in the semifinal. According to Al-Thani, racism (from the referees? from UEFA?) prevented his team from making a historic achievement. In truth, bad refereeing overshadowed the match and created fake drama, while Dortmund played badly from top to bottom, enjoying the kind of luck people usually say goes with eventual champions, winning on desperate long balls and crosses instead of using the good football the pressure on them prevented them to deliver.