Good morning, Fear the Wall.
While Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 victory over Zenit St. Petersburg was welcome news to BVB fans, to the rest of the footballing world it was barely a footnote in an otherwise wild night in the UEFA Champions League. RB Leipzig and Manchester United played an all-or-nothing match to determine who would advance to the knockout stage, and Lionel Messi faced off against his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo, but nothing compared to the craziness in Paris:
PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir leave the pitch
Only 14 minutes into the match that was supposed to be the least controversial match of the night, things went hay-wire when, after a hard-crunching tackle prompted an angry response from Pierre Webo, one of Istanbul’s assistant coaches. Sebastian Coltescu, the Romanian 4th official, issued him a red card. What happened next is somewhat unclear. Coltescu, when asked about which coach was being issued the card, apparently referred to Webo as “The Black Man.” Webo was incensed and immediately accosted the referee about why he felt the need to refer to him with his race.
Istanbul Basaksehir’s players quickly joined in the protest, and when they left the pitch to return to their locker rooms, PSG quickly joined in. The players refused to return to the pitch with the 4th official still officiating, and the match was ultimately suspended, and will be played tonight.
Personally, because we don’t have video of the original encounter, I can’t say for sure whether or not the referee really did racially abuse. According to the referee, he used the Romanian word Negru, meaning black, as a response after he was asked which coach was receiving the red card. Considering all the assistant coaches were wearing identical uniforms and the 4th official seemed to speak poor english and probably didn’t know Webo’s name, that may have just been the easiest way to quickly identify him, so it doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world. However, with the way that Webo and the rest of the Istanbul Basaksehir reacted, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a few additional things were said.
Unfortunately, without a recording of the original conversation, we’ll never know for sure. I’m sure UEFA will conduct some half-assed investigation and suspend the referee for a month or something like that. If the investigation finds that Coltescu did racially abuse Webo, then he should be punished accordingly.
RB Leipzig defeat Manchester United
RB Leipzig have become the third Bundesliga club to win their group and advance to the knockout stage. They did so by the skin of their teeth, barely holding on against Manchester United who almost staged a comeback from a 3-0 deficit. After Leipzig controlled the play for the first 80 minutes or so, United were gifted a way back in when Ibrahima Konaté barreled over Mason Greenwood for an easy penalty call. Only two minutes later, things got very hairy for Leipzig when Paul Pogba scored a header off a corner. Even though it appeared to brush off Harry McGuire’s hand, the goal was held up.
I still don’t understand why Pogba’s goal was held up, because I thought you can’t have your hand touch the ball, even incidentally, in the buildup to a goal. Regardless, it didn’t matter in the end, because Leipzig held on to win 3-2, despite a very nervy moment when Nordi Mukiele almost deflected a cross into his own net, that goalkeeper Peter Gulasci barely managed to keep out with a great save. In the end, Leipzig went through, and Manchester United have been demoted to the Europa League. Maybe they can sign Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho to help bring them to Europa League glory?
The Daily Buzz
What are your thoughts on the PSG-Basaksehir incident?