Monday 18 December 2017

Zagreb in spotlight

Jason Burt

Uefa will consider launching an investigation into Lyon's extraordinary 7-1 Champions League away victory against Dinamo Zagreb which provoked a barrage of complaints amid fears of foul play.

However, European football's governing body will only act if concerns over "something suspicious" having happened in the tie are raised in the reports of referee Mark Clattenburg, the referee's observer, the Uefa match delegate in the stadium or if further evidence is provided.

Last night the chances of an inquiry appeared slim, with Uefa president Michel Platini stating he had "no doubts whatsoever about the integrity of the match or the competition".

The officials' reports should reach Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, today and will be studied before a final decision is taken. It would, it seems, need one of the officials to suggest that the Dinamo players appeared to have 'given up' during the match that allowed Lyon to qualify for the last-16 of the competition with a dramatic swing of goal difference eliminating Ajax, who lost at home to Real Madrid.

Even then it would be hard to prove wrongdoing without any hard evidence of collusion but Uefa might feel that defender Domagoj Vida, who was clearly seen winking and giving the thumbs up to Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis after Lisandro Lopez scored the fifth goal, should at least be asked to explain his actions.

The strongest condemnation last night inevitably came from Ajax coach Frank de Boer who said: "If Zagreb gave the match away they should be punished." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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