Michael Oliver was CORRECT to award Real Madrid a last-gasp penalty and send Gianluigi Buffon off… he stayed calm and made a very strong decision


English referee Michael Oliver was at the centre of one of the biggest moments in recent Champions League history as he awarded Real Madrid a last-gasp penalty to help secure their passage to the semi-finals.

Oliver deemed Medhi Benatia’s challenge on Lucas Vazquez to be a foul, before sending off Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for his reaction to the decision.

Here, Sportsmail’s resident refereeing expert Graham Poll gives his thoughts on Oliver’s decision at the Bernabeu…

Michael Oliver brandishes Gianluigi Buffon a red card in the final moments of the match

The English referee had just seconds before given Real a penalty after Medhi Benatia’s foul

Michael Oliver, only promoted to the elite group of officials in January, justified the decision with some very strong but correct refereeing in the Bernabeu.

With scores level in a gripping quarter final heading for extra time, Oliver was courageous enough to award a penalty which, once converted, took Real Madrid through to the semi-final.

He didn’t stop there. Surrounded and disgracefully harassed by half a dozen or so menacing Juventus players, led by their talismanic captain, Oliver – 33 – stayed calm and correctly dismissed Gianluigi Buffon for his aggressive protests.

Arsene Wenger once told me I was talking rubbish when I said a referee needed courage to give big decisions. I imagine after watching this he will understand.

What a pity the FA didn’t promote Oliver sooner so he could have been eligible for the World Cup.

Juventus players were incensed at the decision, but Premier League regular Oliver got it right

Buffon was sent off for his reaction to the penalty, as he charged to Oliver with his team-mates