Having a pleasant pub meal with friends last night I carefully positioned myself with my back to a screen showing football. They'd not have had my full company otherwise. An atmosphere change, and the person sitting opposite me who could see it, told me something had happened.
It was the Fulham Roma game, 76th minute, and there was a crowd of people around the ref disputing a red card.
The replay showed a Fulham defender, the last man, tangling with an opponent who was through on goal and both falling to the floor. Penalty, eventually well saved by Mark however-you-spell-his-second-name let's try Schwauzer, given.
Thing is this. When I was a defender (stop laughing at the back) I often found myself in this position, mainly due to the incompetence of the other three, of course. It was in the days when a foul outside the box would only get you a booking. But I never fouled. All I did was run as close behind the attacker as possible. Usually they would clip your leg as they ran and would then lose balance and fall a couple of paces later. It always looked as if they had fallen without a touch from me and often I would get away with it.
It looks as if even this has been outlawed. So a forward, through on goal, now merely has to zig zag slightly to prevent a defender catching and coming past. Any clip, however minor, by a defender who is only trying to catch up, not tackle, is a red card.
So these days, if a forward is through on goal, it would be sensible to let them go and hope for the best. Most of them are rubbish anyway.