An officiating controversy ensured Monaco’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal - and with it Valencia’s triumph in the Emirates Cup.
Radamel Falcao scored the winning goal - but most of the talk will be about the decision that snatched away an Arsenal penalty and with it the chance of an equaliser.
Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot in the 81st minute, with Arsenal still trailing by that single goal, as Chuba Akpom was brought down by goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
After a glance to his assistant, he then changed his mind, indicating for a free kick right on the edge of the box instead. Replays confirmed what most in the ground already knew - the foul had been within the area.
So the game was settled, then, by Falcao’s goal in the 36th minute, a header from a poorly-defended free kick, conceded by a rash Jack Wilshere challenge on Nabil Dirar. The Colombian was left unmarked in the middle and stole in front of everyone else to guide the ball past Wojciech Szczesny.
This was a much stronger Arsenal side than the admittedly second-string XI that faced Benfica in their opening match; but equally Monaco were a much sterner test.
Alexis, always lively, made it through three-quarters of the game, in which he ran tirelessly and impressed with his vision; and Aaron Ramsey, so impressive against Benfica, was kept tightly muzzled by a much more organised side.
11’ CHANCE! Corner to Monaco from the right. It reaches the head of Falcao, who can't get power or direction.
19’ CLUMSY! Threaded ball in from Ramsey, and Giroud lumbers after it. He bumps into Subasic, and three paces later falls on his face.
36’ GOAL! Well, you have to be pleased for Falcao. He's left unmarked in the middle, and there's a proper header into the net. He waves and blows kisses as he celebrates.
60’ UNLUCKY! Great work from Cazorla, who's pressuring Dirar in the box, and Alexis slashes that wide and wild.
81’ PENALTY? It's a penalty to Arsenal! Akpom is brought down by Subasic, as he runs on to the through ball, and the goalkeeper isn't happy at all. Wait - the referee has changed his mind. It's a booking to the keeper, and a free kick on the edge of the box.
82’ OUTRAGE! Except that foul was inside the box, and the free kick is straight into the wall. What a poor decision.
That penalty. Martin Atkinson made the right call from the off, and though it’s customary to blame the referee, one would expect him to rely on the assistant who should presumably be parallel with the action and be better able to assess whether a foul is inside or outside the box. This may only be a pre-season tournament, but that decision still could have made the difference between who has some additional silverware in their trophy cabinet and who doesn’t.
Monaco's Falcao scored his first goal since getting injured in January (AFP)
MAN OF THE MATCH
Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco was busy throughout, never letting his energy levels drop and creating multiple chances for his team-mates.
Arsenal: Szczesny 7, Debuchy 7 (Bellerin 90), Koscielny 7, Chambers 8 (Miquel 46), Monreal 6, Wilshere 6 (Zelalem 73), Arteta 7, Alexis 8 (Flamini 73), Ramsey 7, Cazorla 7 (Akpom 73), Giroud 6 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 46, 7).
Monaco: Subasic 7, Carvalho 7 (Abdennour 85), Dirar 6, Moutinho 7 (Martial 58), Falcao 8 (Germain 58), Ocampos 7 (Fabinho 71), Bakayoko 7, Ferreira-Carrasco 8, Echiejile 7, Kondogbia 8 (Kurzawa 85), Raggi 7.
- Sports & Recreation
- Radamel Falcao
- Martin Atkinson