The red card given to Northern Ireland’s Chris Baird for two fouls that occurred without a break in play was “unusual” but within the laws of the game, says former referee Howard Webb.
Derby County midfielder Baird fouled one Hungary player off the ball and then raced down field to hack another, with Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir subsequently stopping play to dish out a yellow card for each infringement.
The hosts fought back to score a last-minute equaliser in a 1-1 home draw in Monday’s Euro 2016 qualifying match, but it was Baird’s dismissal that sparked the most heated debate.
Howard, a former Premier League official, said at Soccerex on Tuesday: “I certainly never had one. I think under the laws of the game he’s [the referee] okay to do it, but I watched it again this morning and I don’t think he’s signalled advantage, because it was off the ball the first situation, wasn’t it?
“But if you play advantage from an offence that’s worthy of a caution then you can subsequently caution him again for the second yellow card, but it’s really unusual and not something you’d normally see.
“I guess the closest thing I can remember is Gary Neville being sent off once for committing a yellow-card offence and then he pushed somebody, I think, before the yellow card was shown.
“Jeff Winter showed him a second yellow before the red card which was the same sort of circumstance but, yes, unusual.
“The second tackle, by the way, wasn’t nice by Baird – it was a real hack.”
Kyle Lafferty’s last-gasp goal kept Michael O’Neill’s side top of Group F with two matches to go.