Red Devils Loïs Openda (RB Leipzig) and Jérémy Doku (Manchester City) are both certain of qualification for the next round of the Champions League. Yet they were not the only Belgians who could look back on a successful European football evening. Referee Erik Lambrechts made his debut in the Champions Ball in Manchester City’s match against Young Boys Bern. But how exactly did our compatriot fare in his first Champions League appearance?
Referee Erik Lambrechts made his long-awaited debut in the Champions League on Tuesday evening. Our compatriot had to manage Manchester City’s match against the visitors from Bern. Lambrechts made a good impression in an almost sold-out Etihad Stadium and saw the Citizens win easily (3-0). Time to take a closer look at the most important decisions from the party.
Who else than Erling Braut Haaland gave City the lead in minute 23 via penalty. A few minutes earlier, Sandro Lauper thoughtlessly mowed down Matheus Nunes in the penalty area and Lambrechts almost immediately pointed to the spot. A correct decision, because the Swiss midfielder of Young Boys, who also received a yellow card for his incorrect intervention, did not touch the ball.
Barely ten minutes after half-time, the same Lauper’s match suddenly ended early. The 27-year-old pushed hard on the ankle of City defender Nathan Aké and deservedly received his second yellow of the evening. The home team was already 3-0 ahead at that moment and that was it. Lambrechts did not have a very difficult evening in Manchester and intervened correctly almost every time.
Belgian refs in the Champions League
Lambrechts was still active at the promising European Championship in June, where he led the semi-final between Spain and Ukraine. His performance there clearly did not go unnoticed, as the Leuven native was assigned his first Champions League match by UEFA in mid-October. On Tuesday evening he followed in the footsteps of Frank De Bleeckere and Lawrence Visser. The latter has refereed Real Madrid-Sheriff Tiraspol and Barcelona-Viktoria Pilsen in the past two seasons.