UEFA Champions League Referee Appointments – May 7-8, 2019

Image courtesy of Mundo Deportivo

May 7, 2019 – Anfield
Liverpool FC (ENG) vs FC Barcelona (ESP) – Semifinal, 2nd Leg
REF: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
AR1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
AR2: Tarık Ongun (TUR)
4TH: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
VAR: Felix Zwayer (GER)
AVAR: Sascha Stegemann (GER)

No surprises here, with Cüneyt Çakır—one of UEFA’s favourites—chosen to referee the second leg between Liverpool and Barcelona. On paper, the tie looks pretty much over as a contest, but as we’ve seen countless times in the past few years, anything can happen in CL second legs (especially when Barca are involved), and so appointing one of the best officials to preside over this one is a particularly wise choice.

Not much to dissect here, apart from the fact that Çakır is paired with Felix Zwayer rather than his normal VAR Massimiliano Irrati. It’s an interesting switch which could possibly mean Irrati has already been earmarked for one of the other European matches this week.

May 8, 2019 – Johan Cruijff ArenA
AFC Ajax (NED) vs Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) – Semifinal, 2nd Leg
REF: Felix Brych (GER)
AR1: Mark Borsch (GER)
AR2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
4TH: Deniz Aytekin (GER)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR: Marco Fritz (GER)

Another pretty straightforward appointment from UEFA, with experienced German ref Brych taking the second semifinal. With the aggregate score at 1-0 to Ajax after one leg, the final outcome of this tie is still very much in the balance.

I think Brych had a mediocre performance in the Barcelona-Man United second leg last round. He overturned what seemed to be a pretty legitimate penalty for Barcelona after looking at the VAR monitor, and overall it wasn’t the best game I’ve ever seen him referee. In the end, Barcelona’s utter dominance more or less papered over the officiating cracks, although I’m sure we would have heard a lot more about the VAR decision had the tie been a little closer. Still, UEFA evidently either agreed with the call or felt it wasn’t worthy of ‘dropping’ him from this semifinal second leg.

Just want to gloat a little bit and cast an eye back to my predictions from last week:

After also predicting Mateu Lahoz and Kuipers for the first legs, that puts me at a pretty decent 4/4 for the semifinals.

We will see tomorrow, when the referees for the final two Europa League semifinals will be revealed, if my perfect record extends to that competition as well.

Once we know those identities, then attention will inevitably shift to who will be chosen to officiate in the two finals to be played in a few weeks’ time. I will have an entire post dedicated to those predictions this weekend, so be on the lookout for that. Until then, enjoy the football!

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