So what on earth were EPL referee Howard Webb and his linesmen thinking during Saturday’s game at St. James’ Park?
In the 32nd minute of Saturday’s game against Newcastle, Chelsea’s new Senegalese striker Ba looked for his 14th EPL goal of the season when he went up for a header in the penalty area but was met with a high boot to his face by Fabricio Coloccini.
Judge for yourself with this Youtube video post.
The kick which broke the nose of Ba left many, including Chelsea boss wondering why referee Webb did not immediately issue a red card to Coloccini for dangerous play and award a penalty kick to the Blues.
“For me, it was a penalty and red card,” Benitez said. “If it was in the middle of the pitch, it would have been a free-kick. It was very simple and very clear – very strange.”
“He [Ba] has a broken nose and has been bleeding for a long time, he is really upset and going through a lot of pain right now,” Benitez concluded.
Benitez gave his complete version of the incident during a post game interview with SkyTV
Ba headed wide on the play and instead of reaching for his pocket, Webb signalled for a goal kick to the surprise of Chelsea’s travelling fans.
The injury forced Ba out of the game and he didn’t return to the match.
The play clearly changed the course of the match, took the momentum away from the visitors, and also opened the door for a brilliant individual performance and two goals second half goals by Moussa Sissoko in a dramatic 3-2 win by the Magpies.
It was a rude return to St. James’ Park for Ba after a January 4 move sent him to Stamford Bridge where he signed a three-and-a-half year deal.
With the emphasis placed on preventing head injuries in all professional sports it is a major disappointment that match officials didn’t treat this foul with more concern.
Hopefully English football officials will take a second look at this incident and issue a red card to Colocinni for dangerous play.