RAGING PITBULL Gennaro Gattuso lost the plot and brought shame on AC Milan when he twice attacked Spurs assistant Joe Jordan in a shocking Champions League confrontation – but questions must be asked about the performance of the match officials.
What on earth were referee Stéphane Lannoy and his assistants doing when Gattuso was roaming around the pitch in such a crazed manner throughout the San Siro first leg tie deservedly won 1-0 by impressive Tottenham.
It was bad enough when Mathieu Flamini escaped a red card for an x-rated two-footed flying lunge that poleaxed Vedran Corluka. Seconds after the Croatian was stretchered off, Gattuso went over to the Spurs bench and grabbed Jordan by the throat in one of the craziest incidents ever seen in a Champions League match.
Moments later the Italian finally saw yellow for a foul on Steven Pienaar. And it was hard not to laugh when the snarling midfielder exploded in a demented rage, rolling around and punching the ground in a manner that only an Italian could do justice to when he realised his card rules him out of the second leg.
The joke was ‘how did Gattuso, who was also guilty of constantly niggling away at match-winner Peter Crouch, manage to stay on the pitch until the final whistle?’
The farcical proceedings were crowned by the most shocking confrontation of the evening when the match ended after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had an injury-time overhead kick disallowed for a push on Michael Dawson.
The full-time whistle was the signal for Gattuso to finally lose all control. The Milan skipper was clearly caught by the cameras head-butting Jordan. The 59-year-old former Manchester United and AC Milan striker did not even flinch. But that does not mean the punishment should be any less.
UEFA must step in and dish out at least a three-match ban for Gattuso while referee Lannoy should be carpeted for failing to protect the visitors and letting so much go unpunished.
Former Liverpool hardman Graeme Souness said what most of us were thinking when he dismissed Gattuso’s disgraceful antics by declaring: “He’s a little dog at best and he’s well past his best.
“I just wish he would have 10 minutes, it wouldn’t even take 10 minutes, 5 minutes with Joe Jordan in a room on his own.”
But let this not overshadow another brilliant European display by Tottenham who throughly deserved their beautifully executed winner, served up by the free-running Aaron Lennon and slotted home by the perfectly placed Crouch.
“It’s a great night for the fans and a great night for Tottenham,” said triumphant manager Harry Redknapp. “They lost their heads at the end there, they were rattled for sure, and I guess that’s a good sign.”
15 February 2011
AC Milan 0-1 Spurs
Goalscorer – Crouch 80 mins