Emiliano Martinez in suspension limbo for Aston Villa's UECL semi-final as bizarre two-yellow law explained

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An explanation behind Emi Martinez’s two yellow cards but no red vs Lille –and why he could be suspended for the semi-final first leg.

Emiliano Martinez avoided a red card despite receiving two yellows for Aston Villa against LOSC Lille on Thursday night - saved by an obscure footballing law - but the club understands he will miss the semi-final first leg through suspension.

The World Cup winner was the Villans’ hero at Stade Pierre-Mauroy as he saved two penalties in a penalty shootout after Lille’s 2-1 win brought the aggregate score to 3-3. Tensions were high throughout the second-leg tie - not helped by referee Ivan Kruzliak’s recalcitrant officiating - and Martinez, public enemy number one in France, couldn’t help but wind up the crowd.

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Villa’s goalkeeper was on thin ice for most of the game as he was booked in the first half for repetitive time-wasting. He certainly tested his luck during regular time but particularly so during the shoot-out as he shushed the Lille fans after saving Nabil Bentaleb’s penalty.

Martinez’s winding up prompted Kruzliak to take action for a second time as the referee showed the Argentine another yellow. A sending-off, then? Surely? But no, Martinez was relieved by a rule even he didn’t know.

According to IFAB law 10 (determining the outcome of a match), warnings and cautions issued during the match are not carried forward into kicks from the penalty mark (KFPM). Therefore, as per the official rules, “a player who receives a yellow card during both the match and the KFPM is not sent off”.

But Martinez mightn’t get away with his antics - as fair or unfair as they were - that easily, however, as Villa understand three yellows across the two legs of the quarter-final constitutes a ban for the first leg of the next round.

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This is where it gets confusing as UEFA laws state otherwise. It’s suggested in Article 52 of the regulations that “all yellow cards expire on completion of the quarter-finals”, but the bizarre circumstances for Martinez could trump that.

To clarify, any players who were one card away from a ban have their cards reset. But as Martinez acquired the two during and up to the end of the quarter-final second leg, as well as a yellow in the first leg, his ban supposedly carries over. That’s what the club believes - as confirmed too by The Telegraph.

Confusing, yes, but Unai Emery is set to have to make do without his first-choice shot-stopper.

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