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Champions League Review: AC Milan wins, was match fixed? Auxerre should wonder.

Yeah Damir, Fabio isn't the only one that thinks you are crap.

Yesterday was a good day from some teams and a bad day for others. Therefore, lets start off with the good.

While Marseille didn’t have their “backs against the wall” like many people were selling it as, they did need to win in order to move to the next stage of the Champions League. And that is what they exactly did.

While Marseille didn’t look too overpowering in their match against Spartak Moscow, they were consistent on both sides of the ball which is what lead to OM dominance throughout the match. Mathieu Valbuena opened up the scoring, closely followed by Loic Remy. Brandao, who has been far from a scoring machine since arriving at Marseille, netted the final goal in Marseille’s 3-0 victory.

While some are calling this a “shock” victory, I don’t see how it is. Easily, Marseille was far superior, man per man, than Moscow. I guess it is the English media that said that Marseille lost at home to Moscow earlier in the season was their reason for making such an odd prediction of a Moscow-dominated match.

While all was well in Moscow, in Auxerre, Jean Fernandez and his team have something to complain about.

First of all, I am not exactly a person who say that “refs are paid”. In fact, if you told me about what was happening in Italy before all the news broke regarding the match-fixing scandal, I would have said you are crazy. Basically, how naive it is, I don’t think that match-fixing happens all that often, or even at all.

But yesterday’s match between AC Milan, oddly an Italian team, and Auxerre made me wonder.

Around the 13th minute (I have to guess because Fox Soccer TV didn’t have a clock on their coverage), Massimo Ambrosini did a full steam, both cleats up challenge on Frederic Sammaritano which caught the Auxerre midfielder in the chin. This should have easily been a yellow car and, in all honesty, should have been a red card. But referee Damir Skomina just called a foul. This was just one of many bad calls that gave the edge to AC Milan.

Just one minute later, Frenchman Mathieu Flamini committed a cardable challenge on Delvin N’Dinga. Again, no call from Skomina.

In the 32nd minute, another missed call by Skomina as a throw in by Cedric Hengbart clearly was handled by a AC Milan defender in the box. And if that wasn’t enough, just five minutes later, a blatant handball by AC Milan midfielder Ignazio Abat, which drew boos and whistles from the crowd, as well as debate from the Auxerre players, was again ignored by Skomina.

And this was just the first half. In the second half, there were a number of other calls that were missed by Skomina including an easy call inside the box that should have been a penalty for Auxerre.

But poor officiating isn’t new for Skomina. He has also been known for favorable calls in the past for Italian teams. Just ask Tottenham in their match against Inter Milan last month. Not only did he favor the Italian side, but he also tried to card the wrong player.

And if you don’t remember that, maybe you do remember when he did card the wrong player in England’s World Cup qualifier against Ukraine when he sent off Rio Ferdinand instead of keeper Robert Green. Not only is he a bad official, but suspicious at that.

While Auxerre were able to push the ball towards the AC side of the pitch, they were still quite poor on any finishing chances. Still, when AC Milan can basically do anything they want because you have an official that is moving everything your way, then it is easier to not only be more physical, but bend the rules as well.

Again, I am not into conspiracy theories and scandals, but the amount of missed calls against AC Milan in this match was extremely staggering! And for Auxerre, if you have the officials against you, then you don’t have a hope in hell of winning. Therefore, it is really hard to know what Auxerre “might” have done, because the game was really against them from the opening minute.

Hopefully the officiating in the Lyon match tonight will be quite better.


One Response

  1. There’s no doubt that UEFA would prefer a marquee team like AC Milan to do well in the Champions League every season. Auxerre is a rural backwater in comparison. But I think your evidence probably points more to the fact that Skomina is just a very poor ref, regardless of the teams involved, but one UEFA inexplicably retains on their A list (like Howard Webb.) Of course, maybe they keep him around because he does what he’s told!

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