After months of anticipation, we were given ninety minutes of the antic. Ireland's clash with Wales yielded a result which troubles the opposition far more than ourselves, but that fact is overshadowed by Ireland's monstrous collateral damage: Seamus Coleman's hideous broken leg, inflicted by Neil Taylor. Referee Nicola Rizzoli sent Taylor off immediately, but perhaps the incident would never have happened had he adequately punished Gareth Bale for his flailing lunge on John O'Shea moments before.
Bale was probably lunging for the ball, but intent is not a pre-requisite for a red card. You can watch it below, accompanied by some weird 'thank you for holding' music.
Bale was booked for the incident, and will now miss the next qualifier with Serbia.
Afterward, Martin O'Neill diplomatically said that he had not reviewed the incident, although did see the stud marks above John O'Shea's ankle.
Wales, however, backed their man to the point of absurdity. Chris Coleman said afterward that Bale wanted to appeal the yellow card, while Bale said that O'Shea "kind of kicked me, and I've collided with him", which is a play straight from the 'Branislav Ivanovic thrust his forearm in between Luis Suarez' teeth' playbook of crap.
Didi Hamann had a strong message for anyone who believed that Bale didn't deserve to be sent off:
Didi Hamann On Gareth Bale
This is for all the morons trying to tell me that Bale went for the ball.Cowardly. O'Shea can count his lucky stars. https://t.co/JtPx83cFAq
— Didi Hamann (@DietmarHamann) March 24, 2017