Well it was an evening of mixed feelings. Great celebrations reminding everyone of the grea past of this arena, where AIK have hosted matches since 1937, and where Pele got to world centerstage, scoring twice against the host nation in the CL1958 final (Brazil-Sweden 5-2). And sadness for the end of a stadium which has meant so much for so many for as long as 75 years.
The refereeing team
Mr. Hategan is just 32 years old. He has climbed the international ladder in an impressive speed. A couple of weeks ago he was in charge of a CL game (Bayern Munchen-Lille), which means UEFA refereeing authorities see great prospects in him. But unfortunately, and contrary to what I reported about his performance about a month ago (Totenham-Lazio), this time he didn't live to expectations. Just two minutes into the game he started his decision-making on a wrong footing. When the Swedes crossed a free-kick into the Italian penalty-area, a defender grabbed and pulled an opponent and then dived as if he was the victim. The ref fell for these theatrics and awarded Napoli a free-kick. He then made two controversial decisions against Napoli (27' - for handball when he was miles away from the incident while ar Sovre, who had a perfect sight, didn't flag. 45'+1' - for an unexplicable reason, a decision that irritated Cavani who was immediately rewarded with a booking for dissent). Then there was the red card shown to Napoli's Aronica (after pulling and holding Bangura back) for prevention of a goal-scoring opportunity (85'). Well, I don't like the red card brandished whenever pure geometry adjudged the culprit fouling someone who is beyond all defenders. Sometimes the distance from the goal is huge, sometimes it is more than probable that a defender could outpace the attacker or cross his path which mean the chances to score are much slimmer than the referee dims us to believe when he decides on a sending-off. On the other hand, the ref maqde one commendable decision, which many would have refrained from - he penalised the Swedes for their goalie, Turina, using body-contact outside the penalty-area in orde to prevent an opponent from reaching the ball (10'). Ars Nica and Sovre performed reasonably well.
THe game that saw an end to Resunda as "a playing ground" was not one of great football. In the first half Napoli were a bit better than AIK, scoring first (Dzemaili, 20'), but the homeside were able to equalise through a far-range header (Danielsson, 35) which the visitors goalie, Rosati, misjudged as going into touch. In second-half stoppage time, the hosts were adjudged to bring Cavani down in their penalty-area (a pretty harsh decision), and Cavani himself converted (90'+4') to become the ultimate goal-scorer at the Rasunda stadium.