Are you Rennie in disguise?

Last updated : 29 March 2003 By Martyn Elliott

The French referee managed to produce a simply farcical decision in the closing stages of England Under-21s 4-2 defeat in Portugal on Friday and dismissed Shola for kicking the ball away.

Shola had earlier been booked for a confrontation with Portugal captain Ricardo Costa and, with England trailing by two goals seven minutes from time shot at goal a split second after Layec had blown for offside.

The fact that he didn’t have time to stop even if he had heard the whistle and that any time-wasting was hardly going to be to England’s advantage was obviously lost on the Frenchman who produced a red card for Shola.

The dismissal should not detract from an outstanding performance from the striker though, who scored two excellent goals and was the only England player to emerge from the game with his reputation enhanced.

It was a bad occasion for the other Toon players on show as well, with Hugo Viana forced to leave the field with what looked to be a recurrence of his shoulder injury and Titus Bramble having a shocker.

Portugal’s goals came from Helder Postiga, a Gareth Barry own goal, Carlos Martins and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The outstanding player on the pitch was rumoured Toon transfer target Ricardo Quaresma, who demonstrated why he is attracting interest from many of Europe’s top clubs.

There was better news for Brian Kerr who was part of a Scotland Under-21 side who beat Iceland 1-0 at Clyde in one of the dullest games of recent times.