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Wales manager Rob Page admits he was “astonished” to see Ethan Ampadu sent off against Italy .
Early in the second half, with Wales trailing 1-0 and chasing an equaliser, Ampadu went for a 50-50 with Federico Bernardeschi in midfield and caught him on the ankle.
It looked like a careless challenge as opposed to a dangerous one but, nonetheless, referee Ovidiu Hategan produced a straight red card.
Ampadu looked speechless in the aftermath, with his teammates attempting to argue his case. The incident led to a VAR check which upheld Hategan’s decision, as the video referee is only meant to correct clear and obvious errors as opposed to ruling on subjective calls by the referee.
Wales went on to lose the match, though a 1-0 defeat was enough to see them through to the last 16 as runners-up in Group A .
Ethan Ampadu lets his emotions show as he leaves the field
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Asked about Ampadu’s red card after the final whistle, Page told ITV Sport : “He’s devastated. I’ve not seen it [back] yet, but it was a harsh free kick for me and then a yellow.
“To see the red come out, I was astonished. I’ll have a look back at it and see what we do with it, but he’s devastated, he’s a young lad, it’s a major tournament and he wants to be part of it. Decisions like that are quite harsh.
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“He’ll learn from it. He’ll come back bigger and stronger from having gone through this experience, as hard as it is right now.
“There’s a group of lads in there that have got an arm around him and we’ll get him through this.”
Aaron Ramsey also defended Ampadu in his post-match interview, saying: “[We] dug in for Ethan, I feel sorry for him. But we have each other’s backs out there and we finished off the job.
Did Ampadu deserve to be sent off? Comment below
“I think it was a bit harsh maybe… I know he certainly caught him, but it was one of those decisions that can go either way.”
Though Gareth Bale admitted he didn’t have the best view of the incident, he also had Ampadu’s back.
“I actually didn’t see him take too much of the player, but I didn’t really see too much,” he said.
“Obviously I’m going to argue to try to defend Ethan, but it was unfortunate.”
Ampadu will now miss Wales’ last-16 meeting with the runners-up of Group B. They will likely face one of Russia, Finland or Denmark, though Belgium could still technically finish second in the group if they lose to Finland, Russia beat Denmark and there’s a significant swing in goal difference in the Monday evening fixtures.
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