Tuesday night marked the return of the CONCACAF Champions League, with the Columbus Crew - Real Salt Lake tie being the focus of Major League Soccer fans. Ending in a 0-0 draw, it wasn't the most exciting match, but considering that this was the first competitive match either side has played in months, it could of been much worse. In some ways, the most active person on the pitch in Columbus last night was referee Jair Marrufo, who handed out three red cards.
In fact, Marrufo issued a double sending off to Nat Bochers and Emilio Renteria for off the ball fouls in the 72nd minute. Since the Bochers-Renteria scuffle occurred off the ball, television viewers only saw this:
While Bochers can clearly be seen throwing either his arm or elbow into Renteria, viewers were left scratching their heads as to why Renteria was also sent off. Apparently, according to Bochers, what the television viewers saw was his retaliation after Renteria had elbowed him in the throat.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, this is what Bochers had to say about the incident:
"If you want to use an analogy, I think what I did was petty theft and what he did was a first-degree felony," Borchers said. "I hope they caught it on tape. I thought it was a very unfair judgment against me. Hit me right in the neck. Had I not backed off him and (had) he connected, I might be speaking to you through a breathing tube. I thought it was bad. In the heat of the battle you do stupid things, but that was bad from him. Unfortunately the refs didn’t catch it."
Both Renteria and Bochers, along with Real Salt Lake's Tony Beltran, who picked up a red card in the first half, will not be available when the teams meet in the second leg of this tie on March 2nd in Sandy, Utah.