Rangers faced Frankfurt in the Europa League final on Wednesday, and the game could have gone pear-shaped in the early stages for the Scottish side.
In the first few minutes of the game, Lundstram went into a challenge with Frankfurt’s Sebastian Rode, and the German defender undoubtedly came off a lot worse.
Lundstram went for the ball but aggressively studded Rode in the head, leading to heavy bleeding coming from the Frankfurt defender. We often see referees keeping their cards in their pockets in the early stages of games, but for Lundstram to escape without even a caution was an interesting decision.
Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has had his say on the incident and believes Lundstram may have got a little lucky.
“I think John Lundstram can count himself lucky. On another day, another referee may have seen that differently, interpreted that differently, and sent Lundstram off for his challenge on Rode,” said Halsey, speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside.
The challenge was extremely dangerous, and Rode can also count himself lucky not to have sustained a serious injury. After a lengthy delay, Rode was able to continue, after being strapped up and a quick change of shirt.
“I think what saved him and I think the referee managed the situation and used his common sense because, yes, Lundstram’s foot was a little higher than it should have been but Rode, his head was down as well, and that’s why VAR didn’t get involved, as it’s not a clear and obvious error,” added Halsey.
The challenge was very early in the game, and sending a player off at that stage may have ruined what was a thrilling, end-to-end final. Lundstram’s foot was high and dangerous, but there’s no doubt that the intention was to play the ball, but the Rangers player should be thanking the referee at full-time.