As a Manchester United fan it feels sacriligeous to even think about it…
However, Manchester United fan or not, the question must still be asked:
Did Ryan Giggs (Manchester United legend and our longest-serving player – not to mention arguably the best player this season) dive against Celtic last night to win the penalty?
My first reaction is ‘hell no’. But I’m biased, so I can’t trust that. Objectively, the contact between Boruc and Giggs was minimal and while Giggs was pushed off balance, there is no way that this was a dive. From the referee’s angle he couldn’t be too sure, and referees end up making wrong decisions and this was one of them. Giggs got injured presumably when he reached out with his foot to control the ball, but the fact remained that this was not a penalty.
Boruc went for the ball, Giggs tried to control it but couldn’t, lost balance and then slid to the ground as the ball rolled out of play for a goal-kick. The ref blows the whistle for a penalty and yellow-card’s Boruc, suggesting that he thought the challenge was deliberate and that Boruc had tried to push Giggs off-balance. Saha scores and Manchester United are able to level the scores.
Here’s the video:
Manchester United 3-2 Celtic – Giggs Penalty Incident
Boruc has accused Giggs of taking a dive and after having blasted respected footballers such as Thierry Henry in this column it is highly ironic that one of our own, and especially such a respected and long-serving player such as Ryan Giggs, is being accused of diving.
Did Giggs – Manchester United legend or not – go to the ground too easily?
The ball was out of reach, Giggs was supposed injured while reaching for the ball and was off-balance. The ref was in full view of the incident and blew his whistle almost instantly after contact. I’m 99% certain that the ref made a mistake for giving the penalty but it was a hard call not to give, and if you factor in the fact that this was Manchester United playing at home…
About Giggs, it was obvious that he would have complained about being impeded by the Celtic keeper (see the replay and Giggs’ reaction to falling down). Did he dive? I doubt it – there was contact (however minimal) and Giggs already had one leg in mid-air when Boruc went past him. Both players were at high-speed and Giggs was thrown off balance.
Penalty? No. Dive? No. Playing the foul and asking the ref for a penalty? Yes.
But then again, that last bit is football, no?