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Some question marks

Slovakia - Scotland 3 - 0 Strömbergsson

It was Mak's game. The Slovak midfielder scored twice and and then delivered a corner-kick which Nemec headed in for a third goal.

The Swedes

Mr. Strombergsson is rated second to mr. Eriksson (whom I don't rate highly) among the Swedish referees, and has just been promoted to officiate at CL. However his performance in Trnava raises some question marks. It was a typical Scandinavian too lenient attitude. There was just one yellow card (Sabo, 15') in an encounter which was hard fought, and not always in fair sportsman-like methods. The Slovaks were the more aggressive side, sometimes on the verge of violence, and there were occasions the Scots repeated in kind. Calm was restored in the last 25 minutes when the game had already been wrapped up. The most obvious and crucial mistake was made in the 17th minute - Durica (it's inconceivable how he managed to get to the end without at least being shown the yellow card) barged into Fletcher outside the home-team's penalty-area, letting another Slovak to take possession of the ball. The foul was blatant, the ref must have seen it, but turned a blind eye or, more strangely, didn't assess it as a foul (in defence of such a policy, which can only being interpreted as a total misunderstanding of players' intentions - a few minutes before, a Scottish player body-checked an opponent, thus letting his team-mate get possession withot penalising Scotland). Then Slovakia built an attack which ended in Mak scoring theur opening goal (18'). It didn't lift the Swedish team's performance which left me to aspire for a better one in the CL matches they are going to officiate.


A nice man

Israel - Liechtenstein 2 - 1 Pisani

Twq totally opposite halves characterized this game. By the 16th minute Israel already led by two goals to nill, and seemed to be sailing for an easy victory as Liectenstein looked nervous and forlorn. But things changed completely at the start of the second half. Liechtenstein came on fighting, scored early (49') and then kept attacking a fading Israeli team, though unable to net the ball for a second time.

REf and ars

Mr. Pisani was very affable, kept smiling, and had a soothing effect on the players. However he was sometimes harsh upon the visiting team - most obviously in two cases: 36' - robbing Burgmeier of a goal-scoring opportunity by awarding a dubious free-kick against him; 61' - penalising Hasler with a free-kick and a yellow card as actually he had been fouled first before the committing foul he was punished for (and I think it happened as he was already losing balance as he had been impeded). Between the two ars, Camilleri had a better evening than Spitery.


It was all over after 11minutes

Armenia - Romania 0 - 5 Bezborodov

When the official clocked ticked 11 (minutes) the score-board indicated Romania leading by three goals to zero.

Ref and ars

Bezborodov was the Russian leading referee at the beginning of the decade. During two seasons (2010-2012) he was in involved in Champions League matches. Then he was demoted to the Europa League never being given another chance at the CL. I didn't see him that much to judge the UEFA Referees' Committee decisions regarding him. However' on the evening, Bezborodov started very convincingly, awarding Romania a penalty-kick less than three minutes into the game (a correct decision for hand-ball, which included a personal dimension - sending Malakyan off the field for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity). Romania converted the penalty-kick and added two goals by the 11th minute. The referee and his ars (Gavrilin and Danchenko) made some mistakes here and there - none too crucial. Strangely, their worst period was between the 69th minute and the final whistle (when the scoreline was already 5-0). The arguably incorrect decisions: minutes 69', 82' 88' 90+1.


On a high

historic matches

Macedonia were the better team, but Israel, through two counter-attacks in the first half, took a convincing lead. The home-side couldn't close the gap by the end, though being awarded a penalty-kick in stoppage time, which they didn't convert (Jahovic) and ended trailing by one goal to two.

The last hurrah

As I mentioned not a long time ago (August 2016), Marriner hasn't been rated highly either by UEFA or by POGMOL. But in the few months since the current season has started, we are witness to a kind of rehabilitation or corrigendum. He got a nomination for a crucial final match of the preliminary rounds preceding the group stage of the Champions League and in the EPL handled the "big one" between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, and his next appointment is to officiate the Chelsea vs. Leicester City encounter. As for the Macedonia-Israel game, it most probably was his last official Inter-States match, as he is 45 years old. And he managed to provide an impeccable performance, its pinnacle being deep in stoppage time, when he awarded a penalty-kick to Macedonia at 1-2, compounding it with sending the culprit, Tibi, off the field for a second bookable offence (both decisions perfectly correct). Except for not using the advantage rule when Bitton (Israel) committed a foul in the middle of the field, while Macedonia kept possession of the ball (Marriner did it in order to book the Israeli player - he probably wasn't sure then if Bitton had already received a yellow card before or not). The ars also had a very good evening concerning the detection of offside/onside situations. One can blame them just for trifles, which Collin should burden more than Beswick.

the WorldReferee team