Ex-referee blasts wait for penalty decision and says Lloris save should not have stood

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Image: SpursWeb

Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has blasted Kevin Friend for the time he took to intervene when deciding to overturn Mike Dean’s decision and give Manchester City a penalty yesterday.

After Serge Aurier seemed to catch Sergio Aguero with a needless lunge, Dean indicated that the Ivorian had got the ball and play carried on for several minutes before the decision was eventually overturned with the intervention of VAR.

In his column for the Sun, Halsey wrote: “There was no way it should have taken VAR official Kevin Friend one minute and 55 seconds to come to a decision on this.

“Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier had no chance of winning the ball because of the angle he challenged Sergio Aguero.

“It was a clear penalty and Friend should have made the call after one look at Stockley Park. But as play continued, Friend would have been checking the incident and I saw Dean communicate with the VAR when he said: “He’s played the ball?”

“Friend should have already alerted Dean to stop the game immediately in a neutral zone — as per the IFAB protocol.

“The ball went into a neutral zone several times and Aguero knew he was fouled because he stayed on the ground, yet we had a ridiculous wait.”

The former referee also insisted that the penalty should have been retaken as Hugo Lloris had come off his line before he saved it.

He added: “After the penalty award, the next issue was Hugo Lloris’ encroachment off his line. Had the Premier League followed the IFAB protocol on keeper movement off the line, then all of what followed could have been avoided.

“IFAB states that VAR checks the goal-line — but the Prem says the on-field assistant referee will deal with encroachment.

“Lloris was a yard off the line and I feel Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty should have been retaken.”

The 58-year-old also backed Dean’s decision not to award another spot-kick when Raheem Sterling went down under minimal contact from Lloris immediately after the Frenchman saved Ilkay Gundogan’s effort.

He felt that the much-maligned Dean coped well with the controversial moments in the game.

“There was contact — but I wasn’t convinced there was enough for him to go down”, he added.

“However, camera angles shown at half-time from behind the goal highlighted the contact from Lloris.

“What we don’t know is whether the VAR official saw that particular angle straight away. Sterling going down sparked a melee — but I don’t think it was an act of simulation.

“It was right that Sterling avoided a red card. Overall, Dean handled all those flashpoints extremely well.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Overall, I think almost all the decisions were correct even though the penalty decision did take an eternity. The only possible point of contention can be Sterling’s challenge on Dele which looks like a nailed-on red card on slow-motion replay. However, I think at full pace it is clear that the Man City forward had no intention of leaving one in on Dele and just misses the ball and catches him in his back leg.

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