It is often said that a good referee is the referee who makes his decisions and is not seen. Unfortunately for Michael Oliver, in his biggest game to date, this was not the case.
All was going well in the Champions nfl shop free shipping League quarterfinal second leg between the two European giants of Real Madrid and Juventus, especially if you supported the Italians who were 3-0 up, until the final moments of the match.
With the clock ticking down at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid began a last-ditch attack. As the ball was played into the Juventus penalty area, defender Medhi Benatia inexplicably barged into the back of Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez just as the forward was about to shoot. Benatia made a challenge for the ball but made no contact. He was guilty of impeding his opponent by physical contact, a clear foul.
Anywhere else on the field, this action would have resulted in a free kick being awarded. But in this instance it provided a penalty kick to Madrid and near certain Champions League elimination for Juventus.
Premier League referee Oliver, 33, had no hesitation with his decision and showed immense character to give such a monumental spot kick. His decision was based purely on the actions of Benatia.
Of course Oliver would have been aware of the magnitude of the occasion but, at that precise moment, all thoughts of where he was — the game, the timing, the occasion — would have become secondary. As a referee, the call comes from your gut and what you have witnessed. Oliver was in an optimal position and his body language showed a positive and decisive reaction.
The reaction of the Juventus players was predictable, official nfl shop given the consequences — they were moments away from extra time and could have avenged last season’s defeat in the final to the same opponent.