Manolo Marquez: Yellow was fair but fourth official is not VAR

One of the big talking points of the game was Sanjeev Stalin’s booking, which referee Harish Kundu after consulting with the assistant referee had changed his initial Red into a yellow card

Hyderabad FC and Mumbai City FC faced off in a highly anticipated match, with both teams looking to secure the top spot. The match eventually ended in a 1-1 draw, with Jorge Diaz of Mumbai City FC scoring a penalty in the first half, and Hitesh Sharma of Hyderabad FC equalizing in the second half. However, the most talked about moment of the match was the 42nd-minute foul on Rohit Danu by Sanjeev Stalin of Mumbai City FC.

Initially, the referee seemed to be pulling out a red card, but after consulting with the assistant referee, a yellow card was shown instead. This decision was met with some controversy, as many believed it should have been a red card, considering Rohit Danu was through on goal and Sanjeev Stalin was the last defender.

However, Hyderabad FC Coach Manolo Roca did agree with the final decision of the yellow card, stating that it would have been difficult for Rohit Danu to reach the ball even without the foul. “In my opinion, it was a yellow card because the ball was arriving directly to goalkeeper Phurba Lechenpa even without the foul. So from my position, Yellow was fair because it would have been difficult for my player Rohit Danu to reach the ball anyways”

However, Roca did question the method on how the decision was overturned, pointing out that the fourth umpire suggested the change in decision. “The question is if you show a red card, you shouldn’t change it because of the fourth referee. The fourth referee is not VAR because if the fourth referee says it’s not a red card, then in every game this has to be done. For example, the other day when Odisha scored their first goal Mauricio was offside then the Official has to say it is not a goal he is offside.”

Roca further added that this inconsistency in the involvement of the fourth official is what he doesn’t understand. “In some games, the fourth official gets involved and in some, he is not, this is what I don’t understand.”

Earlier in the game, there was another dubious decision when in the Mumbai attack, Chhangte played a pin-point cross to Bipin Singh, whose goal-bound header got blocked by Nikhil Poojary’s hand. Despite there being sufficient grounds for the Referee to show a red card, he chose a lenient approach and only issued him a yellow card while granting a penalty for Islanders.

Refereeing has been a major issue in the Indian Super League (ISL) in recent years, with several blunders in key games affecting the outcome. Fans have been calling for the introduction of VAR or foreign referees to help improve the standard of officiating. It will be interesting to see how the Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) responds to this issue going forward.

In the end, the 1-1 draw between Hyderabad FC and Mumbai City FC was perhaps a fair reflection of the game but the closely contested match with its controversial moments has once again sparked debates about the standard of refereeing in the ISL.

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