Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defends ‘unlucky’ Daniel James after Manchester United midfielder is booked for diving during Crystal Palace loss

25 Aug

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested Daniel James will get a bad reputation through no fault of his own after an act of simulation earned him yellow for a second successive match.

James was booked by referee Paul Tierney after going down easily under a challenge from James McArthur during the Red Devils’ shock 2-1 loss at home to Crystal Palace.

James scored a great goal against Palace but also received a yellow card for diving
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The forward, 21, was also cautioned during United’s 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday.

And, the Norwegian also took the opportunity to say that he felt James was unlucky and that contact had been made on the former Swansea man.

When asked if James could get a reputation, Solskjaer said: “Yes. That is what you do get. That is why I raise it here.”

“At that pace, a touch or a nudge will be enough for him to fall.

“I am 100 per cent sure there is contact between Dan and their defender. If you look at the video, there is contact and [there was in] the Wolves game. He has been unlucky. Neither yellow card should have stood.”

Solskjaer came out and defended his player after the match
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Despite this, James scored United’s goal with a curling effort into the top corner, his second at Old Trafford, but it would prove to be a consolation as the hosts suffered defeat after strikes from Jordan Ayew and Patrick van Aanholt.

Man United may have felt aggrieved to see Eagles centre-back Gary Cahill remain on the pitch, despite fouling Anthony Martial who was clear through on goal in the first-half.

Martial was then felled by Martin Kelly inside the box, while Marcus Rashford also went down from a Kelly challenge in the area, but penalties were not given for either incident and Solskjaer felt his side were let down.

He said: “He [Martial] is clear through on goal, one-on-one and it stops a goal-scoring opportunity. There is no doubt.”

“Martial’s [in the second-half] was a nailed-on penalty.

“He will not slip if it didn’t have a 100kg central defender on his shoulder.

“VAR has let the referee’s decision be a subjective one. I also think it was a penalty for Marcus when he runs and gets pulled down a little bit.

“When the referee sees it again, he will know he has not had the best of games.”

Palace manager Roy Hodgson did not agree with Solskjaer, suggesting that he would prefer to use his own ‘feeling’ about the controversial decisions, rather than VAR.

This is the first time Palace have beaten United in the Premier League
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“I see things from a football point of view, the fans’ perspective, or VAR, where you look at it 50 times,” Hodgson said.

“The penalty was a penalty, I didn’t need VAR for that. None of the others were and I didn’t think Gary Cahill’s challenge was a red card.

“Unfortunately, technology has taken away some of the feeling people like myself or Sir Alex Ferguson have for the game.”

United were eventually awarded a penalty, after Scott McTominay was tripped up by Luka Milivojevic.

However, after much debate during the week, Rashford was tasked with taking the spot-kick, but his effort cannoned back off the post and the England striker would later receive racist abuse online.


Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Arsenal vs Burnley: Sean Dyche hopes VAR can help his side end miserable record against Gunners

16 Aug

Sean Dyche hopes the introduction of VAR can give Burnley the upper hand and end their losing run against Arsenal.

GameDay kicks off at the Emirates tomorrow, as Burnley travel to north London – LIVE on talkSPORT– hoping to earn at least a point against Saturday’s opponents for the first time in a decade.

Dyche is hoping to end a decade-long losing streak against Arsenal
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In his time at Turf Moor, Dyche’s team have taken points against all the top Premier League teams except Arsenal, with the Clarets losing 10 games in a row since a 1-1 draw in 2009.

They have come very close on several occasions. In three  successive matches between 2016 and 2017, Arsenal scored stoppage-time winners, twice through contentious penalties.

Dyche said: “I am not going to start harping on about some of the decisions that have gone against us but that has certainly played its part.

“It didn’t last season but it did before that. I have always said you need to be on top of your performance against the top sides. They might be having a quiet day, you might get the rub of the green, you might need a decision.

Arsenal beat Burnley 3-1 twice last season
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“They might be a bit more measured now with VAR and you certainly wouldn’t have the decisions go against us. But, when it comes down to it, you have to perform.

“The top sides are there for a reason, they have good individuals and they are good as a unit, and if you don’t perform you very rarely get anything against anyone in the Premier League.”

Both teams began their seasons with victories, Burnley impressively beating Southampton 3-0 while Arsenal edged to a 1-0 win over Newcastle.

Gunners boss Unai Emery was busy in the transfer window, and Dyche said: “They are a good side who have spent a lot of money and there will be a different expectation maybe of the manager and what he is hoping to produce there.

Burnley began the season with 2-0 win over Southampton
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“It looks like in early season and pre-season they have been slightly more defensive in their shape but I am not going to say they can’t attack because they definitely can.

“They do have a way of opening teams up, we have come across it many times before in the Premier League and they are one of the sides that are strong at doing that. Our job is not to allow that to happen and be effective in our own right and that is what we will look to do.”

Ashley Barnes was the star of the show last weekend with two goals, taking his Premier League tally for the calendar year to 11 – more than Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The combative striker is a fans’ favourite and is the subject of a newly released grime song by Burnley artist Bacchus.

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“I played that to my kids and they seemed to think it was pretty good,” said Dyche. “I had a different view, it is not quite my style, but joking apart the lads have had a bit of banter with him about that.

“He had a pre-season when he played well but hadn’t scored and then he fired two in. I am pleased for him and pleased for the team because it was a good all-round performance.

“He is an awkward customer who has learned the game and has become more and more effective as the seasons have gone on. We want him to continue pushing himself and working hard for the team, which he always does.”

Dyche is likely to select the same team, with Danny Drinkwater earmarked for two reserve games next week.

The Chelsea loanee has not played any first-team football for a year, and Dyche said: “He came in fit generally but lacking in football fitness.

“He has been training hard with the group and doing extras, his general fitness is good but it is about getting that football fitness so that is the next step. We have a couple of games lined up next week and he will certainly get some football in them.”


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Adrian was clearly off his line before penalty save in Liverpool’s Super Cup triumph over Chelsea, so why didn’t VAR intervene?

15 Aug

For better or worse, VAR is designed to ensure football objectively follows the laws of the game. It just turns out some laws are more important than others.

In the game-defining moment of Liverpool’s penalty-shootout victory over Chelsea, Adrian was clearly off his line before saving Tammy Abraham’s crucial spot-kick.

VAR could’ve easily penalised Adrian for encroachment
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So, why wasn’t VAR used to order a retake? Let’s take a look at UEFA’s criteria.

Clear and obvious error? Check. The rules state goalkeepers must have part of one foot on the line when the penalty is taken. Adrian, quite clearly, did not.

Match-changing situation? Check. It literally decided the game.

The incident begs the question: what is VAR actually for? If it takes such a microscopic approach to offside, then why does it ignore goalkeeper encroachment?

You could argue Adrian didn’t gain an advantage by edging forward, but you could also say that Raheem Sterling didn’t benefit from having his armpit in an offside position on Saturday. Common sense isn’t relevant anymore. VAR simply asks, ‘Is that against the rules?’

It’s just weird that in this new technologically advanced world, with such intense and explicit detail involved in every decision, some rules are simply disregarded for no apparent reason, while others are placed under the strongest possible magnifying glass.

Mason Mount had a goal disallowed last night when he just as far offside as Adrian was off his line. What’s the difference?

I’m not actually of the opinion that VAR should look at goalkeeper encroachment. Everyone does it and I’m not sure it affects the outcome of a penalty enough to warrant a retake.

Everyone encroaches the box, too, but Declan Rice was still penalised on Saturday, with Sergio Aguero subsequently getting another chance from the spot.

The point is, whether it’s a good thing or not, we’ve decided that VAR is going keep the game explicitly in line with the rules, even if it’s a matter of millimetres.

Once you subscribe to that method, you can’t simply pick and choose which laws to implement. It has to be all or nothing.

Scotland crashed out of the Women’s World Cup when Argentina were allowed to retake a saved penalty due to goalkeeper encroachment
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Three penalties were retaken in the Women’s World Cup when VAR spotted goalkeeper encroachment. Are the rules of football suddenly different for the UEFA Super Cup?

The Premier League has already come out and clarified its stance on goalkeeper encroachment for VAR’s debut season in the English top-flight, insisting it will be left to on-field officials.

But Pierluigi Collina, a member of the UEFA Referees Committee, warned the Premier League it must enforce the rule.

“The laws of the game are the same all over the world,” he said. “If the law exists, it must be respected.”

Well, apparently not.

Danny Murphy calls for VAR to be SCRAPPED following controversial introduction to the Premier League

12 Aug

Danny Murphy wants VAR to be scrapped after just its first weekend in the Premier League.

The new technology provided plenty of talking points upon it’s introduction to the top flight, with two goals chalked off due to the tightest of margins.

Gabriel Jesus had a strike disallowed during Manchester City’s 5-0 victory over West Ham after Raheem Sterling was deemed to be offside by a matter of milimetres.

VAR is already causing a stir in the Premier League
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Meanwhile, Wolves were denied a winner away at Leicester when VAR spotted a handball from Wily Boly in the build up to Leander Dendoncker’s goal.

And Murphy argues that while the technology has its merits, he prefers football without it.

“Something doesn’t feel right at the moment when I’m watching football,” he told talkSPORT.

“You spend two minutes celebrating, then you take away that joy. Then the other set of fans are celebrating a non-goal.

“The Sterling goal that did get allowed, there was a muted celebration because he was thinking, ‘Is this going to get taken away?’

“The Man City fans were just clapping, it was like something from a ballet.

Wolves’ goal celebrations were in vain as their goal was chalked off
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“I know the majority of what VAR did at the weekend was good – corrected some decisions that would not have been – but if you gave me a choice now, I would knock it on the head.

“Do we really want to see goals disallowed for offside when it’s an armpit?

“It’s supposed to be an entertainment business.

“It’s creating too many areas of chat like this. I’d rather be talking about tactics and players.”

Manuel Pellegrini insists Sebastien Haller will shine this season and claims there are plenty of positives for West Ham fans after Manchester City drubbing

10 Aug

Manuel Pellegrini believes there is plenty for West Ham United fans to be optimistic about this season, despite another opening day thrashing.

Champions Manchester City were at their ruthless best at the London Stadium to secure a 5-0 win and make it the third season in succession the Hammers have conceded four or more on the first day of the Premier League season.

Gabriel Jesus struck in the first half and Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a penalty to add to a brilliant hat-trick from Raheem Sterling.

Manuel Pellegrini is confident of success for West Ham this season
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However, City were denied another after a goal was disallowed by VAR for the first time in the Premier League, when Sterling was ruled offside by a matter of millimetres.

Then VAR ruled Aguero’s spot-kick, initially saved by Lukasz Fabianski, should be retaken as Declan Rice had encroached into the penalty area. The Argentinian did not make the same mistake twice.

West Ham actually played some slick football for the opening 25 minutes, but still found themselves on the end of another hiding – in five visits to the London Stadium, City have scored 22 and conceded once.

But despite the result, Pellegrini told talkSPORT’s Sam Matterface there is plenty to be positive about for West Ham fans.

Sterling lobbed Fabianksi to seal his hat-trick
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“I think for the first 45 minutes, we played really well,” he said. “Similar as Manchester City, they didn’t create chances, we had lots of possession of the ball.

“But we were vey unlucky in their first goal because it is so important against City to go one goal down because they had more possession.

“But we conceded that first goal which rebounded off Issa [Diop] and after that in the second half, we have some destructions in their second goal.”

The subject of increased technology in football has caused widespread debate across the globe, with critics complaining VAR removes passion from the game.

Gabriel Jesus became the first Premier League player to have a goal ruled out by VAR
BT Sport

However, this is not a sentiment shared by the veteran Chilean, who believes extra help for officials can only be a good thing.

“I think it will be positive,” he added. “In the way we review important mistakes where it is very difficult for the referee to see all of the plays.

“It is not easy to be used, but it is useful.”

Despite facing a team who have accumulated 198 points in the Premier League over the past two seasons, there was a genuine sense of optimism amongst the home supporters.

Sebastien Haller has the perfect combination of power and poise to trouble Premier League defenders this season
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Declan Rice, Felipe Anderson and Issa Diop all stayed with the Hammers, despite rumours of moves away, and Pellegrini worked well once again with director of football Mario Husillos to make a number of astute signings.

Club record signing Sebastien Haller was given his full debut by the Hammers and, despite making little impact in the opposition box, his manager is confident the goals will soon flow for the £45million man.

Pellegrini continued: “What you saw in this game is a player who is strong striker that can support the ball very well.

“He will score a lot of goals in the Premier League, he was unlucky not to score today but I am happy with his performance.”

VAR has caused chaos at the Women’s World Cup – why it will NOT be the same in the Premier League next season

28 Jun

Premier League referees are planning to use a less punishing interpretation of the rules to avoid the VAR chaos that has engulfed the Women’s World Cup, talkSPORT understands.

A record 24 penalties have been awarded at the tournament so far, 11 of which have been given with the assistance of VAR, raising concerns about the introduction of the system in English football next season.

VAR has been one of the main talking points at the World Cup
getty

FIFA directives mean a penalty will be given in almost all cases when the ball strikes an outstretched arm inside the box, as Japan cruelly learned against the Netherlands, however we have been told the Premier League will interpret the handball law differently.

A Premier League Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) source confirmed: “It is not in law that every time it hits your arm it is a penalty.

“The Premier League’s protocol will be more forgiving than the examples we’ve seen at the Women’s World Cup.”

In last season’s Champions League, similarly harsh penalties were awarded against Tottenham’s Danny Rose and Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe at crucial moments.

The PGMOL considers the handball interpretation in FIFA and UEFA competitions too punitive.

In another significant development, the Premier League will see officials call upon a 3D mapping system called ‘Crosshair’, which is able to map all parts of the body in marginal offside calls, making it even more accurate than before.

Japan were left heartbroken
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A PGMOL source, who himself said he had been contacted by friends concerned about the chaotic scenes at the Women’s World Cup, said: “I urged them and I urge you to give us a couple of weeks and see what you think after that. It will be different.”

The tournament in France has also seen goalkeepers punished on numerous occasions for stepping off their line before a penalty is taken.

Scotland fell victim to the rule against Argentina when a VAR-awarded spot-kick was saved by their goalkeeper, but she was judged to be off her line upon review, and the retaken penalty dumped them out of the competition.

But talkSPORT understands the Premier League do not plan to use VAR to check whether goalkeepers have stayed on their line.

This, however, might be subject to change after FIFA’s head of referees Pierluigi Collina was alerted to the fact at a press conference in France.

“The laws are the same all over the world,” he said.

“What is written in the laws of the game has to be enforced in every one of the countries that belong to FIFA, and in every one of the competitions arranged by the member associations of FIFA. The laws of the game are for everybody.”

Mark Clattenburg suggests VAR should not be in use at Women’s World Cup, but explains why FIFA need it

20 Jun

Leading referee Mark Clattenburg has told talkSPORT it is essential VAR is in use at the Women’s World Cup, despite Scotland’s controversial exit.

VAR penalised Scotland goalkeeper Lee Alexander for stepping a foot off her goal line in saving a late Argentina penalty, causing the spot-kick to be re-taken.

Nigeria also suffered in a match against hosts France.

Scotland were left shell shocked by their World Cup elimination, which occurred in controversial circumstances
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Clattenburg said: “What FIFA can’t afford to happen in a major tournament is a big ‘scandal’ decision where a ball is clearly over the line, a clear penalty is missed or there’s a handball that leads to a goal where it knocks a team out of the World Cup. So if VAR stops that, then it’s all positive.”

The Premier League will not use video assistant referees to rule on goalkeepers’ positions next season, leaving it in the hands of the on-field officials.

The 2019/20 season will mark VAR’s debut in England’s top flight.

Football’s lawmakers, IFAB, introduced a new rule before the Women’s World Cup requiring goalkeeper’s to have at least one foot touching the goal line when a penalty is struck.

Clattenburg, who refereed the 2016 Champions League and European Championship finals before quitting the Premier League, admitted there are negative aspects of VAR.

“People think it can be unfair”, he added. “When a goalkeeper moves a foot off the goal line you still want to have a tolerance level. The same with offside – if there’s a toe offside then the benefit of the doubt should be given to the attackers like it used to be.”

Referee Melissa Borjas awarded France a penalty against Nigeria after consulting VAR. Wendie Renard’s spot-kick hit the post, but goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie stepped off her line before the ball was struck and Renard was told to re-take, scoring on the second attempt
Getty Images - Getty

The issue, Clattenburg told talkSPORT, is caused by removing the decision from a human being: “Unfortunately when you use technology it has to be a matter of fact.”

The 44 year old, who now referees in China, hinted the introduction of VAR should have been held back from the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

“Only Bibiana [Steinhaus, the Bundesliga referee] from Germany had used it before. So a lot of the girls are new to the system and it takes a lot of training and development.”

Manchester City ‘should do the decent thing’ and replay FA Cup clash with Swansea City, Adrian Durham believes

18 Mar

talkSPORT host Adrian Durham believes Manchester City should replay their FA Cup match with Swansea City.

City benefited from a dubious penalty and replays showed Sergio Aguero’s winner was offside as the Premier League champions came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring Man City’s third goal

However, if VAR had been used it could have been a different story entirely.

The system has been used in this year’s FA Cup but only at Premier League grounds.

As the match was at the Liberty Stadium it was not in use and City boss Pep Guardiola even apologised for his side benefiting from the decisions.

But talkSPORT host Durham thinks Guardiola and City should extend their apology and “do the decent thing” by offering the Championship club a replay.

Durham said: “In the past we have suggested that a game should be replayed because of a dodgy decision.

“I totally understand all those who say you just can’t do it because there were other decisions earlier in the game and it would happen all the time.

“This one I think is slightly different – Man City beating Swansea 3-2 having been 2-0 down.

“There was a dubious penalty in there but more than that we can see Aguero is offside for the winning goal but there is no VAR and there was VAR in a couple of the other quarter-finals.

Bersant Celina celebrates scoring Swansea’s second

“For me this debate is absolutely valid. If Manchester City, who we know have the best resources in the country bar none, just as a reward and giving Swansea what they deserve they should go to them and say ‘look it wasn’t right, there wasn’t VAR, do you want a replay of the game?’”

Durham’s co-host, Darren Gough, did not agree that it should be replayed, though.

He said: “Have you lost the plot? So what are they going to say ‘I’ll tell you what we are going to do, we feel sorry for Swansea so we will have a replay. We’ll ring them up and say look we got away with it, let’s be honest about it and let’s have a replay’.

Pep Guardiola celebrates with Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero

“It’s not happening. It just can’t happen. It’s ridiculous with all the games Manchester City have got to play going for the quadruple and you want them to play an extra game just because a penalty decision went their way?”

Durham said: “First things first, it is the decent, right and proper thing to do. That is the right thing for Manchester City to do. I think they know it and everybody knows it.”

Gough said: “What I would do if I were Swansea is put a complaint in with the FA because Swansea have all the facilities to use VAR at the Liberty.

“But what I didn’t realise is that the FA will only use it at Premier League stadiums but Swansea have a Premier League stadium.

Durham said: “It can’t happen every single week or every single year in the cup. This is an extraordinary set of circumstances and the whole thing you have just talked about there, this whole VAR thing, is totally unfair. It’s totally unworkable and has cost Swansea what would have been an amazing extra-time and potential shock in the FA Cup.”

Vinnie Jones slams lack of VAR at Swansea after controversial Manchester City turnaround in the FA Cup

18 Mar

Vinnie Jones believes Swansea were denied a memorable victory over Manchester City due to the lack of VAR at the Liberty Stadium.

The Swans were on the verge of a giant killing when they took a shock two-goal lead against City in the FA Cup on Saturday.

However, Pep Guardiola’s men levelled in controversial circumstances when a soft penalty was given against Cameron Carter-Vickers, before Sergio Aguero netted an 88th-minute winner despite appearing to be in a marginally offside position.

VAR had been in use during City’s third and fourth round ties at the Etihad Stadium but it was not set up for the dramatic quarter-final.

Aguero broke Swansea hearts at the death

It’s difficult to say whether VAR would’ve overturned the foul on Raheem Sterling – Carter-Vickers appeared to get a slight touch on the ball – but it surely would have ruled out Aguero’s late diving header.

And Jones, who won the FA Cup with Wimbledon in 1988, was left bemused by the lack of consistency in the competition.

“You can’t have rules for one and rules for the other,” the former midfielder told the Sports Breakfast on Monday.

“For me, it’s hard, the penalty is a hard one to call but. But I definitely think Aguero was offside for the winner.

“When you think back a couple of weeks ago, Harry Kane’s left finger was offside when he scored that great header. Aguero was offside.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal legend and Sports Breakfast co-host Ray Parlour also slammed the bizarre decision to have VAR at some games but not others.

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  • Shrewsbury vs Portsmouth (Saturday) – talkSPORT 2
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  • Netherlands vs Germany (Sunday) – talkSPORT 2

He added: “You should either have it across the board or not at all.
“It’s going to come into the game next year and there’s going to be a lot of controversial decisions.”

The dramatic victory keeps Manchester City’s dream of winning the quadruple alive, and they have a favourable semi-final draw against Brighton in the semi-finals.

City are strong favourites in the FA Cup

Parlour admits that winning all four competitions would top the Gunners’ ‘invincible’ season of 2003/04.

“To win the treble is amazing,” he said, “but if you win the quadruple, that would be the ultimate achievement in football.”

Manchester United VAR decision: UEFA issue explanation for late penalty against Paris Saint-Germain in Champions League

8 Mar

UEFA has issued an explanation for the penalty awarded to Manchester United in the closing stages of their Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Marcus Rashford converted the controversial spot kick to send United through to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Damir Skomina reviewing footage of the incident

Referee Damir Skomina was alerted by the video assistant referee under the ‘serious missed incident’ VAR protocol late on in United’s round of 16 second leg tie away in Paris.

UEFA said the referee awarded the spot-kick against PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe after viewing replays because “his arm was not close to his body” when Diogo Dalot’s shot struck it.

“Following the on-field review, the referee confirmed that the distance that the ball travelled was not short and the impact could therefore not be unexpected,” guidance issued by UEFA on Friday read.

Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring the penalty

“The defender’s arm was not close to the body, which made the defender’s body bigger thus resulting in the ball being stopped from travelling in the direction of the goal. The referee, therefore, awarded a penalty kick.”

Marcus Rashford scored the penalty to take United through on away goals.

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There was plenty of controversy on the night about the penalty award, with BT Sport pundits Rio Ferdinand, Owen Hargreaves and Michael Owen – all former United players – unanimous in their view that it should not have been given.

Former Premier League official Peter Walton insists there was no doubt while Mark Clattenberg claimed it would not have been awarded in the domestic competition.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard felt the penalty should have been given and it prevented United from suffering an ‘injustice’.

Guidance from UEFA referee’s chief Roberto Rosetti appeared to be consistent with Skomina’s decision, as he advised officials in January that “if the defender is making the body bigger to block the ball it is not fair”.

Football’s law-making body the International Football Association Board (IFAB) moved to clarify the interpretation of handball at its annual general meeting last weekend.

Its position is that if the ball strikes a player’s arm when it is extended beyond the body’s “natural silhouette” then a penalty should be awarded.

It also said that, from next season, goals scored or created with use of the hand – even accidental use – will be disallowed.