Aberdeen v Rangers: Why Ryan Hedges was red carded for trip on Alfredo Morelos that led to penalty

Aberdeen were reduced to 10 men in the first half of their match against Rangers after winger Ryan Hedges was shown a red card for a foul on Alfredo Morelos in the box.

Aberdeen's Ryan Hedges (left) catches Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos and is sent off (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Aberdeen's Ryan Hedges (left) catches Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos and is sent off (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Referee John Beaton awarded a penalty kick to Rangers in the 26th minute of the match at Pittodrie and gave Hedges his marching orders after he appeared to trip the Colombian striker as he bore down on goal.

The decision led some fans on social media to question why the Welshman received ‘double punishment’ with a red card and the concession of a spot kick.

A UEFA rule change in 2016 stated that taking down the last man or denying a goal scoring opportunity is no longer considered an automatic red card offence. Players who make an 'accidental foul' while trying to play the ball no longer see red.

However, deliberate fouls with no attempt to play the ball still incur a red.

The rule reads: "When a denial of a goalscoring opportunity offence is committed by a defender in the penalty area, the penalty kick effectively restores the goalscoring opportunity so the punishment for the player should be less strong (e.g. a yellow card) than when the offence is committed outside the penalty area.

"However, when the offence is handball or clearly not a genuine attempt to play or challenge for the ball, the player will be sent off."

Rangers captain James Tavernier missed the subsequent penalty, firing wide of the target, however Morelos struck just five minutes later, firing low past Joe Lewis to give the league leaders a 1-0 half-time lead at Pittodrie.

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