In a bizarre repeat of events that happened nearly a year ago, a referee has issued a red card to the wrong player in an English Premier League game.
However, this one is on a slightly smaller stage than the last time.
This time, the incident at hand took place in the second half of Manchester United's home game against Sunderland. With the score knotted at 0-0 and Manchester United struggling to create scoring chances again, Radamel Falcao was taken down in the box by a former United defender (John O'Shea) while another former United defender (Wes Brown) looked on nearby.
At this point, it seems prudent to make three things abundantly clear.
1. The foul was definitely on John O'Shea:
2. This is what John O'Shea looks like. He wears number 16.
3. This is what Wes Brown looks like. He wears number 5.
Nonetheless, referee Roger East decided that it was Wes Brown that committed the foul on Falcao. Amazingly, he made this decision after repeatedly confirming his judgment with his assistant referees over his in-ear communication device. Perhaps the fourth official just said "send off a former Manchester United defender. Any will do!"
Another interesting wrinkle: O'Shea boasted before the game that he hoped to play every minute of every game this season for Sunderland. Thanks to East, he may actually accomplish that goal (though the Football Association will likely impose a retroactive one-game ban on O'Shea and rescind Brown's red card).
Wayne Rooney buried the ensuing penalty, and would go on to score another en route to a 2-0 win at Old Trafford.