Referee Jonathan Lardot Explains Decision to Overturn Red Card for Club Brugge’s Igor Thiago

It was not Igor Thiago’s (22) afternoon against Cercle Brugge on Sunday. The Club Brugge striker was excluded with a second yellow card in added time, after he saw a red card overturned by the VAR at the end of the match. Referee Jonathan Lardot, who initially gave Thiago a red card, explains why he had to reverse his decision.

In the last minutes of regular time, Thiago was sent deep. However, he knocked the ball too far from his foot, allowing Cercle keeper Warleson to intervene. The Brazilian striker, who will move to Brentford after the season for 37 million, continued anyway and seemed to kick Warleson full-on. Referee Jonathan Lardot did not hesitate and drew red. VAR Wesli De Cremer called Lardot to the screen, who decided to waive the red card.

“I’m in the right place with my first decision. I see Thiago pushing the ball far in front of him. If a referee sees that an attacker pushes the ball far in front of him and then wants to recover it, an alarm goes off,” says Lardot in Under Review on Eleven/DAZN. “That’s a signal: something could happen. When I see the intensity with which he flies at the goalkeeper, from my position I have the feeling that the attacker is planting his foot on the goalkeeper’s shin. That is a mistake that endangers the physical integrity of the goalkeeper. From my perspective I decide to give a red card.”

“The VAR intervenes and that is excellent, because in recent weeks the VAR has come under some attack. You have to underline his intervention, because in the images you can see that Thiago puts his foot on the ground first and that the contact is caused by the goalkeeper, who comes out well and has the ball. In his movement, which is also not a penalty foul, the goalkeeper causes contact with the attacker’s leg with his leg. No one would have understood or accepted that I would stick with my red card.”

Not even a second yellow

So no direct red card for Thiago, but the Brazilian already had a yellow card at that moment. So even if he were to be punished with a yellow card before the phase, he would be excluded. “I also thought about giving a second yellow card, but no one would have understood that either. Because it is the goalkeeper who causes the contact with the attacker’s leg, who can do nothing other than put his leg in that position. It would be very strict to give a second yellow card here,” said Lardot. Thiago was allowed to remain on the field, but moments later he had to take an early shower after planting an elbow in Boris Popovic’s face.

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