In the 90th minute of their World Cup Qualifier with New Caledonia on Friday, New Zealand needed a goal to ensure three points and progress to the next stage.
With the score at 1-1, Perth Glory's alliterative striker Shane Smeltz was put through with a good chance to win the tie, but it was scuppered when a New Caledonia defender put in a high studs-up challenge to his face.
All play is supposed to cease immediately when a head injury occurs, but Smeltz bled out in disbelief as the referee jogged away awarding a goal kick, rather than offering a red card, penalty and the introduction of medical attention.
Presumably, all referees worldwide are so terrified of incurring Sir Alex Ferguson's wrath that they have a secret pact to ignore all dangerously high kicks until one benefits Manchester Utd.
New Zealand did end up defeating the tiny collection of islands (population: 250,000) with a 94th-minute winner from Ipswich defender Tommy Smith. As the winners of the Oceania Third Round, the All Whites will now face the fourth-placed CONCACAF team in November for the right to play in the World Cup Finals.
This has been the Dirty Tackle of the Day: a chronicling of unfortunate events.
- Sports & Recreation
- New Caledonia
- Shane Smeltz
- New Zealand