Martin O’Neill remains convinced Gareth Bale was fortunate not to see red as the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier showdown with Wales turned ugly.
The Real Madrid star was booked for a rash challenge on Sunderland defender John O’Shea seconds before team-mate Neil Taylor launched the tackle which left Seamus Coleman with a double leg fracture during Friday night’s 0-0 draw at the Aviva Stadium.
Wales boss Chris Coleman later defended both men - though before seeing extensive TV replays - and revealed Bale had raised the possibility of contesting the yellow card which will see him miss June’s trip to Group D leaders Serbia, although an appeal can only be made on the grounds of mistaken identity.
Republic counterpart O’Neill was at a loss to understand Bale’s response, insisting instead that he could have suffered the same fate as Taylor and been dismissed by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli.
He said: “I can’t see how they could possibly think about appealing a card when it was very, very close to being red and on another day, the referee could have easily given a red card.
“I will reiterate - I don’t think anybody could disagree - both challenges were very, very poor.”
Coleman faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines as he recovers from surgery to pin the broken tibia and fibula in his right leg.
l Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek struck twice as England Under-21s continued their preparations for the European Championships with a comfortable 4-0 friendly win in Denmark last night.
Brighton winger Solly March and Burton loanee Cauley Woodrow also got on the scoresheet in Randers as England won for the first time since Aidy Boothroyd was appointed full-time manager.
Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was an unused sub.