Serious questions are being asked about the Ireland-Wales referee due to this worrying coincidence 5 years ago

Serious questions are being asked about the Ireland-Wales referee due to this worrying coincidence

This doesn't look good at all.

Anyone who witnessed the horrific injury inflicted upon Seamus Coleman by Neil Taylor on Friday night will still be feeling sick to their stomach recalling the gruesome pictures. The live television coverage and most web-based outlets were mercifully reticent about reshowing the incident in the name of good taste and respect for the Everton man's misfortune.

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That said, the incident was near impossible to avoid on social media and within our timelines. Enough individuals had no qualms about sharing the footage in graphic detail. There was even a few sick jokes being banded about. Alas that's the way of the world, and there is no accounting for taste. It was a trending topic specifically because it was so stomach-churning.

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If you ask most people to name the last time a challenge on a football pitch was so brutal in its execution and sickening in its result, nine out of ten would reference the same example. It happened in September 2015, when Manchester United travelled to the Netherlands to play PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League.

On that occasion, Luke Shaw was brutally chopped down by Mexican defender Hector Moreno midway through the first half and suffered a double leg fracture that kept him out of competitive football for nearly a year. It was a crude and dangerous challenge and yet Moreno only received a caution.

And who was the referee who was so lenient towards such a crippling challenge? 45-year-old Italian Nicola Rizzoli - the very same official who presided over Coleman's leg break at the Aviva on Friday night.

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This time round, Rizzoli at least served Wales' Neil Taylor with due marching orders, but his propensity to 'let things go' has come under growing scrutiny. His treatment of Moreno's challenge on Shaw is being compared to the equally wince-inducing assault by Gareth Bale on John O'Shea. Both were extremely high-risk and potentially career-threatening - and both were only cautioned.

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It is felt that if the Serie A Referee of the Year (for the sixth consecutive season) had been more strict with Bale and sent the player off, Taylor would have thought twice about going in so hard on Coleman just minutes later. Of course he didn't, and the fact that the ref has now overseen two of the most sickening challenges in recent memory isn't going down well.

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