BY BOLAJI OKUNOLA.
Victor Moses who became the first Nigerian player and fifth overall to be red-carded in the English FA Cup final has gained praises from his teammates instead of condemnation.
He now joins Chris Smalling (2016), Pablo Zabaleta (2013), Jose Antonio Reyes (2005) and Kevin Moran (1985) as players who have been sent off in an FA Cup final.
Moses is however the only one sent off for diving. In apparent frustration, Moses threw away his black armband which his teammates initially in the first half forgot to wear in honour of the victims of last Monday’s terror attack in Manchester.
The Nigerian wingback was sent off in the 60th minute by the referee for simulation in a final match that his Chelsea lost 1-2 to Arsenal. In a Chelsea TV interview programme monitored by Sports Village Square, Chelsea’s solitary scorer, Diego Costa did not want to comment on the Referee Anthony Taylor’s decision to expel Moses for diving in Arsenal’s penalty box, but praised Moses for his contributions to the team’s fortunes in the season just ended.
“Moses has been instrumental to the team. The fact that he was red carded is not a yardstick for our defeat.
“We ought not to have lost the game but we got no choice. It’s a game of football. Its either you win or lose. We hope for a better performance next season.”
Team mate, Cesc Fabregas also told Chelsea T.V in a post match conference that the team lost due to ill luck.
Hear him: “We lost the game due to lack of luck; this is a game of football. It’s unpredictable. Although we were one man down, but I never see that as an excuse. In a game there is surely a winner and a loser. We hope for more result next season.”
In a similar vein, team handler, Antonio Conte, in a post match interview also applauded all his players without out slamming any one for their misfortune.
“My players have all done well. Although we had a plan of grabbing a double, but we have no choice than to accept our fate. Arsenal play fantastic football no doubt, but at the same time, my boys have also done their best.
“Although we were playing with a one man down but, we equalised shortly after he (Moses) was sent off but we failed to maintain the form.
“We all have got to learn and am currently looking forward for more medals next season”, said Conte.
Moses becomes the second Nigerian to lose the F.A Cup final at Wembley after that of former Super Eagles’ captain, Joseph Yobo, who was a member of the Everton squad that lost the 2010 final to Chelsea.