Howard Webb reveals why he wanted Ronaldo to miss penalty he gave against Spurs

Former Premier League referee Howard Webb has admitted that he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to miss his penalty against Tottenham in 2009 after realising he was wrong to award the spot-kick in the first place.

Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham took the game to United in the first half of that clash in April 2009 and went into the break two goals up thanks to Darren Bent and Luka Modric.

Just when it seemed as though the Lilywhites might pick up a historic result, everything changed at the start of the second half as Michael Carrick went down after a challenge from then Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.

There were massive protestations from the Brazilian, as well as his Tottenham teammates, but Webb stuck with his decision and Ronaldo made no mistake from the spot.

That goal opened the floodgates as the Red Devils put four more past Spurs in the second half as they emerged 5-2 winners.

Webb has now admitted that he knew based on the reaction of the Tottenham players that he had made the decision wrong.

He told The Athletic: “The one that stands out is one where in the game I knew I got it wrong. It was a Premier League game at Old Trafford — Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur in 2009.

“I could see Carrick got there first and then the goalkeeper clattered into him. It was really an easy penalty award.

“I was expecting the usual cursory appeal that you get from the players, not the huge look of absolute astonishment and amazement and incredulousness on the look of Gomes.

“It was obvious within seconds I’d got the decision wrong. There was something more to this.

“I was left with the decision I had taken with no independent evidence that I’d got it wrong other than a gut feeling, and I was just hoping that Ronaldo would miss the penalty. But he didn’t.”

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I remember fuming at Webb’s decision at the time, particularly since the direction of the ball clearly indicated that Gomes had got a hand to it.

That was just one of the many injustices Spurs suffered at Old Trafford during that decade, which is perhaps what made our 6-1 thrashing of United last season extremely sweet.

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