Spalletti backs referee over early red card

Luciano Spalletti feels referee Paolo Tagliavento was correct to hand Hector Herrera a sixth-minute red card in his side's 1-0 victory over Porto.

The Mexican was given his marching orders after receiving two yellow cards in the space of a minute in the UEFA Champions League Group G encounter - a record for the competition.

His first was given for a poor tackle on former Porto striker Hulk and was immediately followed by a foolish second for encroachment on the resulting free-kick.

And Zenit eventually made the extra man count four minutes from time, with Aleksandr Kerzhakov rising highest to head home from a superb Hulk cross.

"I think it was a correct decision by the referee," said Spalletti. "I would be surprised if he didn’t see the second yellow."

Spalletti was also full of praise for Hulk, who returned to the Estadio do Dragao in fine form.

"Hulk was the player that gave them more problems," he added. "He was everywhere, dribbling from the right, giving Kherzakov the goal, he was crucial for our win."

The win lifts Zenit to second in the group, while Porto drop to third - one point behind the Russian side.


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