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PREMIER LEAGUE

Could Haaland be punished for referee comment after City-Spurs decision?

Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur played out an exciting 3-3 game in the Premier League, but it wasn’t without some controversy.

Update:
Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur played out an exciting 3-3 game in the Premier League, but it wasn’t without some controversy.
CARL RECINEREUTERS

Christmas Day may be three weeks away but the English Premier League continues to deliver us fans with footballing gifts week in, week out. The latest offering came on Sunday, as title favourites Manchester City were held at home by Ange Postecoglou’s inspired Tottenham Hotspur. There was so much to discuss in the game but one moment has had more tongues wagging than any other. That was when referee Simon Hooper decided to blow for a foul when City had a great chance to win the game if advantage had been played. And Erling Haaland, who was the one fouled, could not hide his frustration.

Haaland rages at human error

We were into added-on time at the end of the match when the Norwegian striker was tripped just inside his own half. He brilliantly managed to get back on his feet quickly before whipping a delightful pass into the path of Jack Grealish in behind the high Spurs line. Sprinting away one-on-one, it felt like there was going to be yet another twist in as twisty a game as we could have imagined. But the Englishman stopped running. The whistle had blown.

Different opinions | Mateo Kovacic, Erling Haaland and Simon Hooper.
Full screen
Different opinions | Mateo Kovacic, Erling Haaland and Simon Hooper.DARREN STAPLESAFP

What next for Haaland?

Could Hooper have let play go? Absolutely. And it did initially appear that he had. Well, the City players were incensed and surrounded the ref to make their feelings known. Those that were most vehement may be in line for some time out in the same way that Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk did for his on-field outburst after being sent off. The Dutchman admitted to acting in an ‘improper manner’ and ‘using abusive and insulting words’ towards a match official in that match against Newcastle. He was fined £100,000 and suspended for an extra game, on top of the punishment for the red card.

Some commentators have suggested that the decision could have been influenced by one earlier in the game when home players complained that a foul should have been called instead of playing on.

Haaland, for his part, wasn’t done there. Taking to social media, he left a simple ‘wtf’ message attached to footage of the play.

Interestingly, I was unable to find any social media post from Haaland questioning the even bigger mistake by his goalkeeper Ederson which handed Spurs their opener, nor highlighting his open goal miss in the first half. Maybe he’ll do that later.

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