‘I knew I got it wrong’ – Referee admits he potentially cost Spurs at Manchester United

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
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Former Premier League referee Howard Webb has admitted that he got a penalty call wrong when Tottenham took on Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2009.

Spurs raced into a 2-0 lead at Old Trafford that afternoon courtesy of first-half strikes from Darren Bent and Luka Modric.

It seemed as if the Lilywhites were finally going to break their Manchester United jinx but the home side were awarded a penalty just moments into the second half.

Speaking to The Athletic, Webb said: “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.”

Michael Carrick was put through on goal by Wayne Rooney and Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes challenged for the ball with his gloves outstretched.

Replays clearly showed that the Brazilian had got a glove to the ball to divert it but Webb awarded the spot-kick which Cristiano Ronaldo subsequently dispatched.

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

Webb said: “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.”

The former Premier League referee admitted that he hoped Spurs could hold on to their 2-1 lead but knew there was no chance as soon as Wayne Rooney equalised for United.

When asked what was going through his mind when the Red Devils levelled the scores, the 48-year-old said: “Just ‘Oh s**t’, really. You just know. You can tell as a ref.

“You can see the momentum shift. You can see the way the game is going. At 2-1, you never know. At 2-2, you can see the way this game is going.”

The game eventually ended 5-2 to United when Rooney and Ronaldo each bagged their second goals of the game before former Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov put the icing on the cake for the home side.

Spurs Web Opinion

There is no doubt that goal completely changed the momentum of the game as we were quite comfortable up until that point. It was clear in real-time that Gomes had got a touch on the ball from the direction the ball went towards. It was a shocking decision, to say the least but it is hardly the only bad decision that we’ve been on the wrong side of at Old Trafford.

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