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Roberto Firmino's celebration could have cost him his goal

Controversy abounds as Firmino removes his shirt a mite too early!

Firmino celebrates – but should his celebrations have been cut short?

Roberto Firmino has been threatening to take his shirt off every time he scored a goal for a long time. He lifts part of his shirt up and then you can almost see the wheels in his cranium turn as it screams at him “you'll get a yellow, now!” and he pulls it back just as it crosses his elbow. 

Thanks to excellent work from twitter user @MrBoywunder, we know that Firmino's done it twice against Manchester City last season as well as Manchester United in that Europa League defenestration of Louis Van Gaal's side. He's even done it on international duty!

Sample this: 

He apparently developed this when at Hoffenheim, where he used to get booked all the time for this. 

But against Palace, he finally did it! Pulling the shirt off as he celebrated the goal that sealed the Reds' (yellows on that particular night) win. It was a delightful goal at that -  a lightning quick counter-attack that he finished off with an utterly delicious chip that wafted into the Palace goal. 

Thing is, though, it probably shouldn't have been a goal at all!!!

That's because the Brazilian took off his t-shirt BEFORE the goal actually crossed the line. As you and I know, taking off your jersey is a yellow card offence. 

It’s just a few inches, but...

As per the rules of the game - "If play is stopped to caution the player, an indirect free kick shall be awarded to the opposing team from the position of the ball when play was stopped

If the law were applied to the letter then, that wouldn't have been a Firmino goal, rather it would have led to an indirect free kick right in front of their own goal line for Crystal Palace. And, he would have gotten that yellow for nothing. 

This is, of course, a grey area, in the sense that common sense would dictate that it is as good as a goal, isn't it? After all, if this were to be applied to the letter – wouldn't defenders randomly take their shirts off before the ball goes in? (advantage would be played, but still...)

However unlikely the application would have been, and as harsh as it would have been, at the end of the day – he removed his shirt while the ball was still IN PLAY and there is no doubt that is was not a goal celebration! 


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