Young Boys captain slammed for running over to Erling Haaland to get his shirt during half time, said “embarrassing” and “nonsense”:
Young Boys captain Mohamed Ali Camara sparked controversy during the Champions League match against Manchester City on Tuesday when he approached Erling Haaland at halftime to ask for his shirt.
The incident occurred with City leading 2-0 at the break after goals from Haaland and Phil Foden. Despite the match still being unfinished, Camara ran over to Haaland as the teams headed to the tunnels and exchanged shirts with the prolific striker. Audio captured Haaland appearing to say “you cannot do this” to Camara, though it’s unclear if he was referring to the shirt swap.
Former Manchester City player Keith Curle criticized the move, saying he would be “raging” if he were the manager as it showed disregard for the ongoing match. The shirt swap also drew the ire of pundits like talkSPORT’s Ally McCoist, who called it “embarrassing” and a “nonsense.” McCoist argued that exchanging shirts should only happen after the final whistle in line with proper etiquette. He did clarify that he doesn’t oppose post-match swaps, having done so himself many times as a player.
You’ve got to take your chances if you want Erling Haaland’s shirt
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola downplayed the incident, saying it did not bother him and that he was unaware of the reason behind it. Guardiola preferred to focus on his team’s dominant performance and Haaland’s brilliant second goal from distance that sealed the 3-0 victory.
The win secured Manchester City’s spot in the Champions League knockout phase with two group matches still remaining. City remain focused on finishing top of Group G in order to secure home advantage in the critical second leg of their first knockout round tie.
Young Boys manager David Wagner claimed he was unaware of the shirt exchange at the time. He said he would speak to Camara but did not think it impacted the match result against the Premier League champions.
This is not the first controversial shirt swap to occur at halftime. The practice drew attention at Euro 1996 when Paul Gascoigne exchanged shirts with Colin Hendry of Scotland at the interval with the match scoreless. Gascoigne later provided his second shirt to Ally McCoist after England’s 2-0 win.
Camara’s request stood out given Haaland’s red-hot form. The Norwegian striker joined City in the summer and has scored 20 goals in 13 appearances across all competitions. Opposing players are eager to get jerseys from football’s newest sensation, but convention dictates waiting until after fulltime.
The shirt swap occurred during Haaland’s first Champions League appearance at the Etihad Stadium. He marked the occasion with two typically lethal finishes, taking his tally to five goals in three Champions League games this season. City will expect more of the same from their talismanic striker as they pursue European glory.