Dutch midfielder Marc van Bommel, just acquired from Bayern Munich, was ejected for foul play in the 54th minute of his Serie A debut for AC Milan.
Rob Hughes writes that van Bommel protested, as he usually does, holding up two fingers, insisting that this was only his second foul. But referee Paolo Tagliavento shrugged, pointed to the locker room.
Van Bommel is a past master at talking his way out of the punishment that his crude and calculated fouls should have earned through the years. His World Cup final should, with proper application of soccer’s rules, have been terminated for repeated transgressions long before the end. His brutal return to Barcelona, as a captain for Bayern determined to chop down and elbow Lionel Messi in the Champions League two years ago, also went unpunished. The lenient referee on both occasions, was the Englishman Howard Webb.
AC Milan still managed a 2-0 win at Catania thanks to goals by Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.