In the latest Ref Watch, Dermot Gallagher analyses the big calls in the Old Firm derby and felt Shane Duffy could have followed Nir Bitton down the tunnel.
Rangers 1-0 Celtic
INCIDENT: Nir Bitton was dismissed in the 62nd minute at Ibrox after pulling down Alfredo Morelos and was adjudged to have denied him a goalscoring opportunity. Celtic boss Neil Lennon criticised referee Bobby Madden for the sending off.
DERMOT SAYS: “I was watching live and I thought red card. Once Morelos gets past Bitton he’s got a run on goal. The law states denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, meaning can he get a shot away at goal. I would suggest Morelos would get a shot away long before Ajer gets across. He did not have to make that challenge, once you make it has to be a red card.”
- Neil Lennon: Not a sending off | Steven Gerrard: Our season starts now
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INCIDENT: Shane Duffy triggered a melee after a dangerous looking lunge on Ryan Kent – it resulted in a yellow card.
DERMOT SAYS: “This is as high a tariff yellow card as you get. It must be bordering on red, not so much for the first leg but the fact he follows through. The ref has seen that, he’s just sent off Bitton, he needs to be assured that it really is pushed over the boundary but as it was right on it, he gave Duffy the benefit of the doubt. As I said earlier, another day another referee that could have been a red card.”
Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa
INCIDENT: Douglas Luiz clumsily clipped Paul Pogba’s heels in the area, handing Bruno Fernandes a penalty which he clinically dispatched into the bottom corner. Aston Villa boss Dean Smith thought Pogba tripped himself up for United’s match-winning penalty.
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DERMOT SAYS: “I think the referee thinks there is a tangle of legs and Pogba actually catches his foot. What I would say is once it’s given, considering where the referee is on the pitch, it’s never going to be overturned by VAR. You cannot fault Michael Oliver’s positioning.”
Tottenham 3-0 Leeds
INCIDENT: Steven Bergwijn was caught on the edge of the area by Ezgjan Alioski after he had been turned by the Netherlands international, and after a VAR review ruled the offence had occurred just inside the area.
DERMOT SAYS: “It’s like a forward being in an offside position – his body is in the area and he’s fouled. There is no doubt about it. The line is quite conclusive. It’s a penalty. Part of Bergwijn’s body is in the area, part is not. That’s why it’s given. VAR have felt the contact continues into the box and therefore the penalty is given.
“There’s been less controversy in the last couple of rounds as we are seeing more referees making more on-field decisions that are being supported by the VAR.”
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