Manchester United: Why Alex Ferguson Is Right About Penalty Claim vs. Spurs

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Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was highly critical toward the assistant referee who denied his team a penalty against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday—and perhaps he had every right to feel aggrieved on this occasion.

With the scoreline at 1-0 in United's favour, Wayne Rooney went crashing to ground in the penalty box alongside Steven Caulker, but neither referee Chris Foy nor his assistant, Simon Beck, saw grounds to award a penalty.

Following the match, Ferguson told the BBC (as per video interview above):

It was a clear penalty kick. There was no way the linesman was going to give that, but he gave them [Spurs] everything else. I thought he had a really poor game today. I'm disappointed in him, we've not had a good record with him.

Referencing an incident from a couple of seasons back, Ferguson alluded that the same assistant had cost Manchester United a goal against Chelsea when Didier Drogba scored a goal from an offside position.

A late Clint Dempsey equaliser meant Manchester United had to settle for a single point at White Hart Lane, whereas scoring the penalty would have given them a perhaps-unassailable two-goal lead with a little over 20 minutes left to play.

Though it may be understandable that the referee—looking at the incident from behind the action—might have viewed the collision as Rooney making contact with defender Caulker first, Ferguson was right in his comments that the assistant certainly should have awarded the foul in United's favour.

Despite having taken up a good position, looking directly across at the foul by Caulker, assistant Beck did not flag for the penalty kick. The movement of the Spurs' defender's leg across the body of Rooney should have been unmissable from that distance and angle, and it was no surprise to see the United manager annoyed with the lack of a call afterwards.

Ferguson also claimed his own defender, Rafael da Silva, was fouled in the build-up to Spurs' late equaliser—but it was penalty non-decision which frustrated the boss the most.

Of course, given United's recent attempts with penalties, it's not entirely certain that Rooney would have scored the spot kick anyway—assuming he was even allowed to continue in his duty of taking them.

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