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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Bamba not collared over shirt celebration

CONTROVERSY: Sol Bamba. Photo: Getty
CONTROVERSY: Sol Bamba. Photo: Getty

Sol Bamba was at the centre of a new shirt-removal celebration controversy as he claimed a last-minute winner for Cardiff against Brighton on Saturday.

Leicester winger Demarai Gray provoked debate last week when he paid tribute to the club's late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha after his Cardiff winner.

Gray took off his jersey to reveal an undershirt with the message "For Khun Vichai", but was shown a yellow card from referee Lee Probert for doing so under the laws of the game.

Seven days on, Bamba came up with a 90th-minute winner in the 2-1 victory over 10-man Brighton - Dale Stephens having been sent off in the first half - and celebrated in the same fashion by taking off his top.

The defender was engulfed by jubilant Cardiff colleagues, as the Bluebirds celebrated only their second win of the season.

But he was not booked by former FIFA-listed referee Martin Atkinson, who must now wait to see if he is sanctioned for not punishing the offence. It is understood the incident has been recorded as a mistake.

"I don't think Martin would have done that on purpose," Cardiff boss Neil Warnock said of Atkinson's failure to caution Bamba, who admitted to telling the official he had kept his shirt on.

"That's what linesmen are there for really. I did mention to the referee when he warned us about being booked for taking shirts off.

"I said I hope he books three of our players because we don't score that many."

Bamba was relieved to have claimed the winner in a crazy goalmouth scramble after Cardiff had struck the frame of the goal twice.

The Ivory Coast defender himself had sent an overhead kick against a post before Callum Paterson's follow-up was deflected onto the crossbar by Brighton defender Lewis Dunk.

When quizzed by the BBC, Bamba said: "The ref asked if I took my shirt off and I said 'no'."

Bamba had been at fault for Brighton's sixth-minute opener, Dunk losing him to head home at the far post. Paterson grabbed the equaliser, before Bamba's late winner - which looked suspiciously offside.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton insisted that Cardiff's winner should not have stood.

"I don't think it looked like Sol Bamba is offside, he was offside. Referees have difficult decisions to make, especially with Cardiff's style of play. But what you want them to do is make the big decisions correctly."

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