Tottenham left disappointed and confused at the final whistle, as Manchester United continued their fantastic unbeaten run against the North-Londoners but in some contreversial fashion, when the 2nd goal was allowed to stand by referee Mark Clattenburg.
With the win United move into 5 points of early leaders Chelsea, but all the attention went towards the man in the middle Mr. Clattenburg. There’s no denying that Man United were the better side through-out the game and they did score a first (undeniable) goal through their captain Nemanja Vidic after Man of the Match Luis Nani curled in a great free-kick to meet his head. But Tottenham did look threatening at the other end with their main man Rafael Van Der Vaart hitting a bullet of a strike against the post after Man United’s Ji-Sung Park also disturbed the woodwork.
Without the big-man Peter Crouch Tottenham did not have a Plan B and looked some what desperate at times. Their tippy-tappy passing did manage to get them near Man United’s area but when they unleashed their super-quick wingers, they did not have anyone to aim for in the box. Second half was a similar story from Tottenham’s point of view but United started looking more convincing with the final ball. The big blow to Spurs came late-on in the second half when their star player Van Der Vaart got injured and had to be taken off.
The moment of controversy came in the 85th minute when Nani scored United’s second. Point-by-point guide to the goal:
- Wes Brown plays in a ball to Nani
- Nani gets to it before Kaboul
- Kaboul pushes Nani, but Nani doesn’t go down, so no penalty
- When the ball starts getting away from the Portuguese, he does go down & thinking he would get the decision his way, puts his hands on the ball
- Mark Clattenburg doesn’t give the decision nor the free-kick as Hourelho Gomes had the ball in his hands. To stop any significant delay, he allows the advantage.
- Gomes doesn’t realise that, and thinks its a free-kick, so puts the ball down to take it.
- Nani comes from behind, and his enough time to ask the ref if he could play the ball, Clattenburg signals to say the ball is dead and play-on.
- Nani Slots the ball into the back off the net
- Celebrates wildly, which i dont get why
- Tottenham players cry
- United win the match
Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has showed his anger at the referee since, saying:
“What a farcical way to finish a game. It’s a handball, he’s deliberately handled it and it should have been a booking. Everyone has seen him do it so we think it’s a free-kick, it’s just the referee that doesn’t see it. It was a scandalous decision and the referee has made a mess of it all.”
His counterpart, the United manager Sir Alex doesn’t blame the referee for the circus scene, instead he believes (like me) that it was the goalkeeper’s fault:
“It was bizarre. No-one knew at the time what was wrong. One minute the goalkeeper had the ball in his hands and next it’s in his net. Nani looked back and looked at the referee and the referee said play on, so what can he do but put the ball in the net.You can look at the referee and look at the linesmen and blame them, but the goalkeeper should know better. He’s an experienced goalkeeper. I thought he made a mess of it. The referee played on because the goalkeeper took possession of the ball. He then went to take a free-kick thinking it was a foul. He made an error.”