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Terrible Referees Overshadow Excellent Viola Performance

FC Hollywood are up 2-1 after the first leg, on the back of a penalty kick by Robben and a blatantly offside 89th minute winner from Klose. We'll get to the special circle of hell that should be reserved for Bayern's dishonest thug of a captain and the abysmal performance by the referees, but let's recap what happened in the match first. Goals here.

First Half

Fiorentina started well, staying organized and preventing Bayern from creating many chances. Especially impressive was Lorenzo De Silvestri, who shackled Ribery who never threatened save for one shot from way outside the penalty box. LDS showed the athletic ability to run with him stride for stride, and was disciplined and careful about his fouling. The Viola didn't create many chances, aside from the free kick from Vargas that Natali got to ahead of Butt and one other Bayern defender and somehow managed not to steer inside of the post.

While other incidents in the second half seem to have drawn more attention, I'd like to take a look at the despicable actions of Bayern's captain, well known dishonest thug Mark Van Bommel. First, he was very lucky to get off with a yellow for his two footed stamp on RickyMonty (I thought this limited Monty for the rest of the match, as he was erratic in his passing and shooting and looked a step slow. I'll give him credit for battling through and a big defensive effort but this was not his best match). Second, his blatant flop at the end of the first half should have earned him his second yellow and his marching orders. His repeated efforts to game the referee were despicable and one would hope this would be beneath the captain of a great club like Bayern Munich.

As the half went on, Bayern got stronger and stronger, mainly through Robben. A counter attack led to a penalty - Gomez's goal from open play should have counted as the referee was too quick to blow the whistle. But, Kroldrup's clumsy challenge was whistled, and Robben wrong footed Frey to sucker punch the Viola with the last kick of the first half.

Second Half

Prandelli told the boys that they played well in the first half and were only 1/4 of the way through the match. They listened and came out fighting. Kroldrup atoned for giving up the penalty by burying Jo-Jo's deflection off of the corner kick. It was an ugly goal, but well done by the Viola to take advantage of poor marking by Bayern. Almost immediately after, Jo-Jo had a shot saved, and also had another opportunity set up by Vargas shortly thereafter that he badly scuffed. The Viola were in clear control of the first 25 to 30 minutes of the second half.

From there, Gobbi was sent off for no good reason. He bumped into Robben, with his elbow going into the Dutchman's chest along the sideline. Robben sent down theatrically, clutching his throat. The linesman convinced the referee that this was worthy of a straight red card. A yellow, maybe, but certainly not a red. It angers me as a long time fan of the team, because if any Viola player is an honest competitor who would not deliberately try and elbow an opponent it is Gobbi. From there, given the Viola's recent luck, could anyone see a result besides a 2-1 loss coming?

Almost immediately, Marchionni was shown a yellow card for getting near that cheating sack of shit captain. He flopped, AGAIN, and was rewarded for it. There was also a late, studs first, lunge into Kroldrup's ankle by Klose that he got away with only a yellow on.

And, then the Viola survived a couple of close calls, but then the offside goal came in the 89th minute. Really, this wasn't even close. Watch the link above, if you can stomach it, but Klose (who arguably shouldn't have even still been on the pitch) was a minimum of 4 yards offside when Olic passed him the ball. Incredible.

RickyMonty pretty much sums up my thoughts about the referees.

An Attempt at Optimism

2-1 is not a terrible result for an away leg. A 1-0 victory at home sends us through. Plus, LDS did a great job on Ribery and Robben has a 67.8% chance of injuring himself before the next round, and he was really the only guy who looked dangerous for Bayern tonight. Its just up to Prandelli to keep the guys focused. They've outplayed Roma and Bayern in 2 of the last 3 matches but wound up losing. He's got his work cut out for him, but he's up to the task.

Forza Viola - We'll be back later in the week with the hopes that the Viola can get healthy at home against Livorno this weekend.