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19th Apr 2024

How Emi Martinez was allowed to stay on despite receiving two yellow cards

Charlie Herbert

There were some confusing scenes in Lille

Emi Martinez left fans baffled last night as he managed to avoid being sent off despite receiving two yellow cards.

The Aston Villa goalkeeper was the centre of attention in his side’s Europa Conference League quarter final second leg.

After Lille won the game 2-1, the tie was level at 3-3 on aggregate and went to penalties.

Anyone who watched the 2022 World Cup final will know that a penalty shootout is the Argentinian’s speciality and so it proved again, as he saved two spot kicks to send Villa through to the semis.

Emi Martinez avoids unique red card

But that doesn’t tell half the story. Throughout the match, Emi Martinez had been booed by the French crowd who clearly still hadn’t forgiven him for denying them a third World Cup in Qatar.

Just 39 minutes into the game, the shot stopper was booked for time-wasting and was relentlessly jeered every time he touched the ball.

Martinez didn’t react – until he saved the first penalty. This prompted him to turn to the Lille fans behind the goal and shush them.

When the ref warned him to stop, Martinez couldn’t resist turning again to the crowd and making a gesture to them. This got him a second booking, and it looked to the world like the keeper had achieved the unique feat of getting himself sent off in a penalty shootout.

However, Martinez remained on the pitch, prompting confusion from players, staff and fans.

This was because of a little known rule which means that yellow cards reset at the start of a penalty shootout.

The law states: “Yellow card for all players are not carried forward into a penalty shootout. If a player receives a yellow card in both the match and the penalty shootout, this should be recorded as two yellow cards, not as a red card.”

Explaining the rule on X, ESPN’s Dale Johnson said the rule had been introduced for the 2020-21 season.

He continued: “It’s been around for 4 seasons. It followed a change which said a keeper needed one foot on or above the line. Booked if they broke this twice. Wiping yellows intended to reduce the chance of a red for this.

So Martinez stayed on, and ended up saving Benjamin Andre’s attempt to spark wild celebrations as Villa won 4-3 on penalties to advance to the last four.

The Argentinian and his teammates then ran the length of the pitch to celebrate with the 2,600 travelling Villa fans.

There will be some punishment for Martinez though. After picking up three yellow cards in the two quarter final legs, he will be suspended for Villa’s semi final first leg against Olympiakos.

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