There’s some controversy brewing over in the English Premier League after Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 over the weekend, a game that featured what is easily the strangest goal you’ll see today.
With the score 1-0 and about six minutes remaining in the second half, United striker Nani goes to ground in the box and clearly handles the ball as he appeals for what would have been quite a soft penalty. Spurs goalie Heurelho Gomes then picks the ball up, as Nani acts as if he’s been shot, walks a few feet and puts it down as he gets ready to play it to a defender.
Instead of playing it, Gomes allows Nani to walk up to the ball, turn around and shoot it into the empty net! If you think my description of the event sounds far fetched, have a look for yourself (until it’s taken off of YouTube):
Yahoo! Sports UK writer Paul Parker thinks the blame “must be shared” in this case – Gomes should have played to the whistle, but the referee should have done the right thing and disallowed the goal.
Nani teammate Rio Ferdinand, meanwhile, took to Twitter to let his opinion be known: In one tweet he wrote “Handball but gotta play to the whistle-harsh but true,” followed by “Handball but the Ref didn’t blow so how can it be a free kick?? If it’s a free kick why did Gomez put the ball 10yards away from incident??”
Valid points – you learn from an early age to play to the whistle, pretty much regardless of the sport you’re playing. At the same time, Nani clearly has his entire hand on the ball and there are four officials watching the game. That’s a pretty big one to miss if you ask me!
Spurs manager Harry Redknapp went on a tear after the game, stating that referee Mark Clattenburg should have given a free kick rather than let that bizarre series of events unfold. He also said that he’s quite certain that Clattenburg and his assistants will get their stories straight before explaining themselves to their bosses.
“I never questioned the integrity of the officials. What I said is that when they get in their room, they would always make sure that they sing from the same hymn sheet. The linesman isn’t going to say, ‘I told him it was handball and he should have disallowed it.’ They’ll all come up with the same, even though Mark Clattenburg, in private, has said – and I know it for a fact – that he made a mess, really. He should have given the free-kick, but when the reports go in all the assistants will back him up. They all work together.”
Redknapp didn’t stop there – telling reporters that if the FA decides to fine or punish him for his comments, he’ll “take issue” and fight back by never giving a post-match interview again, much like fellow manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“Don’t expect me to come out on the television after a game, ever, because I won’t. If you want me to talk rubbish and say it was a good decision, don’t bother getting me out after a game…The FA want it both ways. They want us to talk about the game, but not talk about it. Do they want me to tell a load of lies?”
Personally, I think Redknapp should still come out for his post-match interviews, but just be really cheeky about the whole process. He could either do it the Randy Moss way and refuse to take questions, or he could just stick to one word answers when possible and “no comment” when the question requires more.
Wouldn’t that be fun? What do you think: United goal or Spurs free kick?