The Hamburg manager Martin Jol remained philosophical after the Emirati referee Ali Hamad Moadhed opted against sending off Paolo Maldini.
Jol recognises referee's decision
DUBAI // The Hamburg manager Martin Jol remained philosophical after the Emirati referee Ali Hamad Moadhed opted against sending off Paolo Maldini. The AC Milan captain struggled to reach an errant pass from his new colleague, David Beckham in the first-half of the Dubai Football Challenge. He consequently felled the lively Hamburg forward Ivica Olic, who was bearing down on goal with just the 'keeper Dida to beat. Had it been a Serie A match, Italy's most-capped player would not even have waited for the official to make his decision, so clear was the infringement. However, with Maldini one of the major attractions for the packed crowd at The Sevens, Moadhed decided discretion was the better part of valour, took pity, and showed the yellow card instead. It was a crucial decision. The German side controlled the first hour of the friendly encounter, and would almost certainly have made their dominance count had they been afforded a numerical advantage at that stage. Even though Ronaldinho put the Italian side ahead after 61 minutes, Hamburg still looked the more likely victors and earned a deserved leveller soon after through Collin Benjamin. However, they were eventually denied following penalties. Jol said that the decision was understandable, even though it all but cost his side the Emirates Cup which they have won for the past two years. "We could understand the situation with Maldini," said the Dutch manager. "He didn't give him a red card because it was a friendly game. "On the other hand, he gave a penalty against us for what we thought was a minor foul. But overall it was a good atmosphere and I think people will have got a good impression of Hamburg." Despite losing the trophy that they have treated as their personal property in recent times, Jol was pleased his Hamburg side had put on a show for the UAE supporters against their more illustrious opponents. "It was great that they could see so many stars [in the Milan side], and the coming stars in our team," he added. "We always say that our team is the star, not any of the players. We have one or two very good players, but we play as a team and that is good to see." email@example.com