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Dirty Tackle

DTotD: New Zealand’s Shane Smeltz kicked in the face in World Cup Qualifier

Ryan Bailey
Dirty Tackle

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.

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