|Rooney and Giggs argue with official|
Soon after Sylvain Distin’s terrible back-pass error which gifted Luis Suárez a goal in the 2012 FA Cup Semi Final, Séamus Coleman entered the fray, having been intensely briefed by David Moyes as to his role on the right wing. Presumably, Moyes must have felt that an injection of the Irishman’s boundless energy would have lifted his team’s lethargic performance and carried them to an historic victory, but unfortunately it was to be an atrocious display by the Donegal man, and one which demonstrates exactly why a player must always stay focused during every minute of every game – not least one as high-profile as a cup semi-final.
Coleman was not long on the pitch before he was shown a yellow card for a piece of utterly frantic defending outside the Everton box,which saw the 23 year old desperately attempt to grab the ball. Then, with just four minutes remaining, he committed a foul on Steven Gerrard near the corner of the pitch and should really have been given an early bath for his troubles. More importantly, however, Andy Carroll scored from the resultant free-kick and Everton’s hopes of an FA Cup final appearance were cruelly extinguished.
Everton’s captain Phil Neville took to Twitter to express his feeling of devastation at the result, saying that no individual can take the blame for the result, but it was, in fact, a game which hinged upon individual errors, something which was readily admitted by both Distin and Coleman, once again via the medium of Twitter, after the game.
In Ireland the evening before the semi-final, Derry City played Sligo Rovers in the Sligo Showgrounds and a number of Derry’s players similarly exhibited an alarming lack of focus. Midway through the second half, with the score precariously at 1-1, Derry’s 19 year old prodigy Patrick McEleney gave away what can only be described as a lazy foul in the Derry half. As Sligo prepared the free-kick, instead of concentrating on defending, McEleney was much more concerned with berating the referee for his decision. As the young attacker was giving the referee an earful, Sligo took the free-kick quickly, passing the ball straight past McEleney, who with his back turned to the ball, was not paying attention.
Luckily it did not cost the Candystripes the game. Nevertheless, it could have, and manager Declan Devine will probably have had some stern words with the City players in the dressing room after the game.
Football really is a mind game; get your head in the game.