If ever we were in doubt of this site's "raison d'etre", the Norwegian referee gave us all the arguments to press on. Remember, we started this site in the conviction that a fair amount of matches are won and lost, made or broken by the men that officiate them. Well this man, who was quite obviously out of his league here, well near destroyed the game that was assigned to him, and in doing so, told us at worldreferee that we're doing the right thing. Thank you Terje Hauge.
We were watching this match in a little bar (with a big big screen) on the small island of Menorca. The cafe was packed with both English and Catalan supporters, and one Dutchman, yours truly, as the only impartial person in the room. We all saw the Barcelona striker Eto'o charging towards the goal. We're talking the 18th minute of the game here. We all saw Arsenal's goalkeeper Jens Lehman bringing Eto'o down on the edge of the penalty area. We all saw the ball rolling on to Giuly and we all saw him making a perfect goal. The English fans put on a brave face and congratulated the Catalan fans, new beers were ordered and we settled back in our seats to see the rest of this amazing match. It was only then that we realzed the goal had been disallowed, Jens Lehman was going to be sent off and a free-kick had been given to the Barcelona side. We were all, without exception, bewildered by Hauge's decision. This ruling made everybody unhappy. It was totally against the spirit of the game and spoiled what could have been a great final.
Many more mistakes
I'll keep it short. Hauge went on to make many more mistakes. He turned a blind eye to most of the Barcelona fouls. The foul he did see wasn't one. He thought a tumble by Arsenal's Eboue had been caused by Puyol and awarded a free-kick to Arsenal (kick by Henry, header by Campbell: 0 - 1). Hauge showed Henry a yellow card for supposedly tackling a Barcelona player - which he hadn't. He also allowed an offside Barcelona goal.
I suppose Barcelona deserved to win in the end, but we'll never know for certain. Arsenal, playing 10 against 11 - and without Pires, who was substituted for the replacement goalkeeper Manuel Almunia - fought on bravely for quite some time and even looked like they were going to win. In the end a substitution by Rijkaard turned the game around: Henrik Larsson (replacing van Bommel), with two inspired assists, helped Barcelona to the goals needed to win this game (Eto'o: 1- 1, Belletti: 2-1).