Ferguson defends Ronaldo over red card | inside World Soccer

Ferguson defends Ronaldo over red card

Monday, December 1, 2008

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson defended Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese winger was sent off in the 1-0 win over Manchester City at Eastlands.

Referee Howard Webb gave Ronaldo his second booking when he bizarrely handled Wayne Rooney’s corner midway through the second half.

The 23-year-old told reporters he heard a ‘beep’ a split second before he parried the ball.

But Ferguson, having watched the replays, claimed Ronaldo was unlucky.

Fergie said: "I've seen it again and he was trying to protect himself from the ball hitting his face.

"He thought he had heard a whistle, he got a little push as well and it is not as if he punched the ball.

"If that had been outside the box it would have been a free-kick and nothing else. But the crowd played a part and he got sent off."

Yet City boss Mark Hughes said the referee had no choice.

"I don't think the referee had any choice," said Hughes.

"I don't know what reason he will give for doing it but if he says the ball was going to hit him in the face why didn't he head it?

"It is a soft sending-off but it was a second bookable offence and he had to go."

Ronaldo had already been booked for a foul on Shaun Wright-Phillips and had been fortunate to avoid further punishment for applauding the referee after that incident.

The dismissal means Ronaldo will be unavailable for their Carling Cup quarter-final match against Blackburn in midweek.

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