|Hapoel Tel Aviv||-||Benfica|
"Alain Hamer will be 45 in December so this may have been his last or penultimate European match European match." These were the opening words of our friend Wolfgang Sittmayer, opening his assessment of Mr. Hamerws performance at the Weser-Stadion, three weeks ago. I suppose, we saw yesterday Mr. Hamer`s ultimate performance on the European stage, but who knows as there is another CL round in two weeks from now, and it seems for the last two months that the EUFA Refereeing Committee "haven`t let him off the hook", handing him as many matches to handle as one can get.
Referee and assistants
Mr. Hamer was unequivocally up to the job, having a very good performance, especially in the second half of the game. In the first half there were two controversial referee decisions inside the Tel-Aviv penalty area. In both cases Mr. Hamer was lenient towards the defendce. In the first case (13`), Fransman (Hapoel) and Luisao (Benfica) pushed each other when a Benfica free-kick was driven inside the box. For me Fransman was the first and main culprit. The whistle went against Luisao. In the second case (32`) Ben-Dayan (hapoel) pushed a Benfica player when they were aiming at the ball curling inside the box from a Benfica corner-kick. Mr. Hamer booked Ben-Dayan, but decided the foul had been made before the corner-kick was taken, thus ordering it to be retaken. Both assistant-referees had some problems of adjustment to the game. Mr. Mangen was a bit hesitant at the beginning, and when decisive (20`) he was mistaken, as the Tel-Aviv player adjudged offside, was not. Later in this half Mr. Mangen had some other difficult offside/onside decisions to take, and as there weren`t always appropriate replay shots, it will be un fair and unkind to him to raise any doubt about his judgement in those incidents. Mr. Holtgen had a few dreadful decisions about who was the last to touch the ball before it went off the pitch (34`, 41` - in both cases the wrong decision went against Hapoel). In the event where Mr. Holtgen flagged offside against Kardec of Benfica (30`) disallowing an equaliser at 1-0 to Hapoel - it was a hair-breadth situation and one should get behind the official in situations as tight as that one. The second half was faultless, which enables one to conclude that Mr. Hamer left the world-stage with a bang, and a very positive bang at that!!!