A ques­tion of hon­esty

Cyprus Today - - CLASSIFIED -

RA­HEEM Ster­ling, not for the first time, found him­self the re­cip­i­ent of a “soft” penalty on Wed­nes­day night when he went over in the area. Hav­ing clearly tripped him­self up with no de­fender within a yard of him, the Shakhtar play­ers were too busy laugh­ing their heads off at the de­ci­sion to protest and the penalty was duly dis­patched.

Af­ter­wards it was sug­gested that Ster­ling should have told the ref­eree that there was no con­tact or that Citeh, recog­nis­ing the un­fair­ness of the de­ci­sion, should have de­lib­er­ately missed the spot kick. Which is all fine and dandy and I have some sym­pa­thy for this school of thought, but a poster on a web­site put it into per­spec­tive thus: “When de­fend­ers start say­ing to ref­er­ees, ‘sorry ref, I did wres­tle him to the ground/there was con­tact and it was a penalty’ maybe for­wards will re­cip­ro­cate.” Hard to ar­gue with this train of thought as week in, week out we see for­wards ganged up in penalty ar­eas with the re­sult­ing free kick usu­ally go­ing to the de­fend­ing team.

Want to avoid all this has­sle? Bring in VAR; it’s only as good as the peo­ple op­er­at­ing it but it’s bet­ter than the guess­work we see in too many in­ci­dents. Any­one who doubts that VAR is the an­swer should con­sider that in Uefa com­pe­ti­tions there are five of­fi­cials on the pitch. Five, and not one of them saw — or ad­mit­ted see­ing — Ster­ling’s clear-as-day prat­fall.

A wise man once said . . .

“There are only two things cer­tain in life: death and taxes.”

Now I bow to no man in my ad­mi­ra­tion for the great Amer­i­can author, printer, po­lit­i­cal the­o­rist, freema­son, post­mas­ter, hu­morist, sci­en­tist, in­ven­tor, states­man and diplo­mat Ben­jamin Franklin, but he for­got the third cer­tain thing: Arse­nal get­ting drawn at home in Cup ties, usu­ally against the low­est-ranked team re­main­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion.

There is ac­tu­ally a fourth cer­tain thing: Arse­nal fans throw­ing their toys out of the pram at any per­ceived crit­i­cism of their south Lon­don club.

It’s only money

The Scots are (wrongly, in my opin­ion) famed for be­ing, shall we say, care­ful with money. But if that is the case how come a fan, pre­sum­ably of Hearts, felt flush enough to down Hibs man­ager Neil Lennon with a well-thrown £1 coin the other week?

Lennon has, of course, got his­tory with Jambo fans, hav­ing been at­tacked on the touch­line a few years back while manag­ing Celtic. Not sur­pris­ingly he’s get­ting a tad fed up with all this stuff and would like to see the cul­prit get his just deserts in the courts. If I were Lennon I wouldn’t hold out much hope on that score, see­ing as the fan who at­tacked him in 2011 in full view of the TV cam­eras was cleared of as­sault as the jury in Ed­in­burgh de­cided to give a “not proven” ver­dict to the charge of sec­tar­ian as­sault and in­stead knocked it back to a mere breach of the peace.

That must have been some game at Tynecas­tle the other week be­cause, in ad­di­tion to the coin in­ci­dent, the Hearts goal­keeper was felled by a Hibs fan and the two lines­men were both struck by “for­eign ob­jects” thrown from the crowd. Who said Scots fitba was bor­ing? The score that night, if any­one’s both­ered: Hearts 0-0 Hibs.

Team of the week

Hugo Lloris, Spurs; Sea­mus Cole­man, Ever­ton; Vir­gil van Dijk, Liver­pool; David Luiz, Chelsea; Ben Chilwell, Leices­ter; Lewis Cook, Bournemouth; Lucas Tor­reira, Arse­nal; James Mil­ner, Liver­pool; Erik Lamela, Spurs; Richarli­son, Ever­ton; Ra­heem Ster­ling, Citeh. Man­ager: Marco Silva, Ever­ton.

Rugby union

Au­tumn in­ter­na­tion­als — to­day: 4.30pm Scot­land v Fiji; 5pm Eng­land v New Zealand; 7.20pm Wales v Aus­tralia; 8.30pm Ire­land v Ar­gentina; 10.05pm France v South Africa. Those of a ner­vous dis­po­si­tion should con­sider watch­ing footie at 5pm to­day rather than the rugby from Twick­en­ham. I’ll watch the game from be­hind a sofa but I have to say I can’t see Eng­land get­ting within a dozen points of the All Blacks.

Rugby league

Third test — to­mor­row: 5.15pm Eng­land v New Zealand. With Eng­land be­ing 2-0 up in the se­ries this is pretty much a dead rub­ber, but it should be worth watch­ing if only for the nov­elty value of Eng­land beat­ing an an­tipodean team in the 13-man game.

For­mula One

Brazil­ian Grand Prix — to­mor­row: 8.10pm. With the ti­tle safely wrapped up Lewis Hamil­ton will no doubt want to end the sea­son on a high, but equally Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and his Fer­rari team will want to lay down some mark­ers for next sea­son. Last year’s race can­not pro­vide any point­ers as Hamil­ton had to start from the back of the grid and Vet­tel took the hon­ours, but I ac­tu­ally quite like Max Ver­stap­pen’s chances this time out.

And fi­nally

Last week I asked what the fol­low­ing clubs all had in com­mon: Brighton, Bournemouth, Ful­ham, Crys­tal Palace and Wat­ford. The an­swer is that the clubs who rep­re­sent 25 per cent of the cur­rent Pre­mier League have never won top-class sil­ver­ware.

This week: what con­nects Arse­nal and corned beef?

The Great Karflıyaka BakeOff, week two — I’m sorry to say that af­ter the orig­i­nal Bat­ten­berg chal­lenge was changed to Tot­ten­ham cake all the com­peti­tors cried off cit­ing the fol­low­ing rea­sons: “I’m hav­ing noth­ing to do with stupid foot­ball, give me rugby any day.” Mike Rivett.

“I know naff all about foot­ball and you ex­pect me to bake a bloody cake named af­ter a bunch of south­ern soft­ies?” Christina (Call me Mary Berry) Wal­lace-Rivett.

“There’s no way I’m bak­ing a cake named af­ter a bunch of losers.” Mrs Walker.

That’s the last time I lis­ten to a recipe sug­ges­tion from Jo Le Roux San­ders, and as for Mrs Walker, she sup­ports United! Say no more.

So long, farewell, auf Wei­der­se­hen, adieu — Pe­ter Daw­son and Ian Wil­liams de­part the is­land in a few days for warmer climes, so there’ll be no more Boom Bang-a-Bang­ing in Karşıyaka now un­til next sum­mer. For some this might come as a re­lief but the ma­jor­ity will miss their mu­si­cal con­tri­bu­tions on a Fri­day at Jes­sic and wish them well over the com­ing months un­til they re­turn next year.

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