Thursday, December 8, 2011

All I ask today: Say "Hmmmmm... " like you mean it

I've wrestled back and forth for hours on how to address last night's simultaneous Champions League incidents in Amsterdam and Zagreb, obviously because of the team short-strawed with the outcomes. I have decided that it cannot be avoided. I suppose that I will just have to speak as objectively as my reputation allows.

Just to get anyone unawares caught up, Ajax hosted Real Madrid last night needing a draw to ensure safe passage to the Champions League knockouts. Even with a B+ Real side, that's no easy feat. They had two legitimate goals disallowed in rapid succession, eventually losing 3-0 when the visitors tacked on late goal with Ajax throwing everyone forward to score.

Meanwhile, Lyon played at Dinamo Zagreb, no cozy place for visitors. Even with a loss Ajax would go through provided L'OL did not win while making up seven goals in differential. At halftime, the game was tied at ones despite the home team being down a man (two yellows, I have not seen either play yet). It ended 7-1 Lyon, with six goals in less than a half hour after the break.

SO... after a bit of checking around, I may be back later with a longer post. For now, I will simply forward the increasingly high possibility that Ajax were the victims of an actual fixing conspiracy - as if nobody would notice stuff like this.

Don't believe it? Think it's all a lot of coincidence? Surely, you've seen this photo by now. Well, it gets better. Here is that very same Dinamo Zagreb player recently caught leaving a betting parlor with a wad of tickets.

Here you can find a 101 Goals special breakdown of several of Lyon's sudden flurry goals. Lots to chew on there.

And these are the two goals Ajax had disallowed two minutes apart (plays start at 3:17 and 4:17).

Ajax 0 Madrid 3 door jordixana

Believe it now? The French Gaming Authority have already begun investigating, and UEFA may not be far behind. Ajax boss Frank de Boer (who I just ran into at De Toekomst after watching the Generation adidas team fall 3-2 to Jong Ajax) has asked for an enquiry, but he does not feel hopeful.

Folks, this is serious stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with the shirt worn by the team that fell out. There is a shit-ton of coincidence that needs a good explanation here.

Personally, I'm curious to see what unfolds, but highly doubt any justice would be done. This not something UEFA wants to cop to in public, I can assure you of that. And really, most of all, when I look at this from a fan's perspective over my team... (sigh)... to be perfectly honest, I'm feeling like it's our own fault that this can happen when we dominate Lyon twice and end up in a pair of 0-0 matches.

That's just the Amsterdam way of thinking: we could have avoided all possible mess and didn't do it. We expect to play well enough beyond any possible bad luck, ref mistakes or whatever that was last night. We aim to be un-screwable by evil and/or supernatural forces.

And hell, if anyone out there didn't already realize the world is full of crooked people willing to do crazy shit for money, then I would please like to order two boxes of your Thin Mints.

UPDATE: It seems a Croatian report is claiming Dinamo were bribed, though I'm not sure the article says by whom. I'm trying to find a link. Meanwhile, several papers all over the continent are crying foul, including Madrid-based AS, which noted 'a strange gesture of complicity' handed to Lyon last night. Here is a take in English from a Dutch scribe speaking about the hijinx portions confined to Amsterdam ArenA (who, full disclosure, is a PSV man if I recall correctly).

And guess what? Kindly officer UEFA is telling us all to move along as there's nothing to see here. That was quick. And predictable.

UPDATE UPDATE: This stuff is not isolated. As it just so happens, Grant Wahl dropped this bothersome CONCACAF scoop today.

- Greg Seltzer


Malcolm said...

The picture you linked to is not evidence of anything. Blurry cam shot that lets you see what you want to see. I think that should be thrown right out during this discussion.

Now the gambling photos are a bit more damaging. Since no source link was included I'm curious as to where they came from. Also a date on when those pictures were taken would be helpful. Still it is only two pictures of one player.

Onto the offsides calls: 1st one should have been ruled on sides yet a mistake like this isn't out of the ordinary. Doesn't appear to be egregious.

The second offsides is egregious. Take the two together and with the same line judge yeah a bit more smoke here.

Seems to be worthy of deeper investigation but I'm naturally skeptical of charges like this. Boy who cried wolf and all (not you Greg just fans in general).

Phil McCracken said...


When I saw this score, I raised an eyebrow. When I saw the highlights, I became even more certain that something wasn't right. That was a total laydown. Even the Lyon players seemed awfully subdued while pulling off this amazing result. You would have thought they would have been more excited, they seemed almost sheepish in their demeanor.

Easy to see why UEFA has already closed its investigation, they want no part of this. Anyone know Declan Hill's number?

Greg Seltzer said...

@ merwin:

The linked picture was actually spotted in real time by the Dutch announcers... the close-up pic came after. Besides, that is the least compelling bit.

The gambling shop photos came out of Croatia, perhaps from the same newspaper article I referenced. I'll need to ask around.

They were both horrible calls, and I cannot ever remember a team having two incorrectly waved off inside two minutes. That linesman had to elephant balls to even raise his flag that second time.

And actually, Ajax and its fans are hardly complaining at all right now. They are mostly waiting to see what else turns up and generally assuming nothing will be done about any of it.

SPA2TACU5 said...

The image of the Dinamo player dates back to 2010.

The 1-0 is actually proof of the linesman NOT having been bribed. Otherwise he would've instantly flagged for offside.

The Dinamo game seems to have been settled at half time, either by the players or club officials. Of course it could've been a bad loss but the contrast of their fanaticism before and lack of effort after the break is peculiar.