Man City were denied a late one-on-one in their thrilling 3-3 draw with Tottenham on Sunday; referee Simon Hooper gave advantage for a foul on Erling Haaland but then brought it back after Haaland put Jack Grealish clean through; Micah Richards says he "cannot understand" the decision
Monday 4 December 2023 08:34, UK
Micah Richards says he "cannot understand" why referee Simon Hooper denied Manchester City a late one-on-one at the end of their thrilling 3-3 draw with Tottenham on Super Sunday.
With the fantastic game nearing its end, Erling Haaland played Jack Grealish through on goal for a one-on-one, but after giving an advantage for a foul on Haaland by Emerson Royal, referee Simon Hooper brought the play back as Grealish brought the ball down.
Referee Hooper felt the wrath of the Etihad Stadium crowd at the full-time whistle, with Haaland remonstrating with the officials and storming straight down the tunnel.
The City forward then later tweeted his disbelief at the controversial call.
And Sky Sports pundit Richards could not hide his frustration at the call which could have granted City a winner.
"The referee had a brilliant game today until this moment. I don't understand it," said Richards.
"The referee puts the whistle to his mouth, he waves the play on to play advantage. Jack Grealish is clearly onside and Haaland plays the ball through - and then he stops the play, which I don't quite understand.
"The evidence is there for all to see, he should have let play go on. You can see on the fourth official's face, he knows the referee has made the mistake. How can you explain it?
"He's entitled to make a mistake - but the problem I have with that is how many situations have we seen where play is allowed to go on [so VAR can check it].
"If you're in doubt, just leave the play to go on and then you can bring it back."
Fellow Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane added: "The referee has made a mistake. It's a poor call, he's got it wrong.
"Grealish is through on goal and credit to him, he played advantage. But he's got that [the decision to bring it back] wrong. We can all see that.
"It's a poor decision, but City will be critical of themselves for letting Spurs off the hook. They can't look at the referee for that one."
Haaland's fury at the decision continued well after the full-time whistle.
Sharing footage on social media of Hooper giving advantage for the foul on the City striker, then bringing it back after Grealish ran through, Haaland posted on X: "Wtf".
When asked by Sky Sports about the decision, City manager Pep Guardiola said he would "not do a Mikel Arteta comment".
Guardiola was referencing the moment Arsenal manager Arteta - who used to work at City as Guardiola's assistant - calling the referees "embarrassing" and "a disgrace" after they allowed Newcastle to score a controversial winner against his Arsenal team on November 4.
"Next question. I will not do a Mikel Arteta comment," Guardiola said.
"It is hard when you review the image, the referee decides to blow the whistle after he has already said to play on. After the pass, the whistle, so I do not understand this action.
"But I would say we did not draw because of that."
Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou, however, simply shrugged his shoulders and said sarcastically "I guess so mate" when asked if his side had got away with one when Hooper blew his whistle prematurely.
In his post-match press conference, meanwhile, Guardiola described Haaland's post-match reaction as "normal".