After Massimo Busacca's (surprisingly) disappointing performance in the first leg, I suggested that Wolfgang Stark's style would be more appropriate for this match. And it was. Only a couple of dodgy decisions from him and the assistants tarnished a worthy performance.
Frankly, this match was easy to control. While the first half was entertaining with lots of flowing moves and a stunning hatrick from Messi, the second half was incredibly dull as Barca shut Arsenal out. No rash challenges, no genuine penalty appeals.
Stark did a lot of good work in the first 30 minutes. Instead of reaching for cards straight away, he preferred to give the players a lecture, wave his hands about and say "no more" with a stern face. His whistling and hand signals were firm and clear. He left absolutely no doubt he was in control, and was not going to tolerate any messing about. The players took note.
Stark stopped play for 26 fouls, lower than average, and played out several good advantages as well. Most of the free kicks were correct, and I thought he allowed a consistent amount of contact throughout the match. The most significant mistake was the booking of Denilson for a supposed foul on Messi; in my view it was a fair challenge and it was wrong to award the free kick and show the card. The other two yellows were correct.
The two assistants didn't have such a good night, each getting a couple of offside decisions wrong, one in particular should have been an easy decision. They should also have stopped players moving the ball upfield at free kicks when the referee was not looking, as happened on a few occasions.