10 controversial penalty decisions made
Midfielder Raheem Sterling won a penalty for Manchester City when he fell over after kicking the turf in their 6-0 Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday 7th November 2018.
Referee Viktor Kassai wrongly awarded the spot kick which Gabriel Jesus scored.
We take a look at other controversial and bizarre penalty decisions.
France vs Germany, 1982
Imagine losing your teeth, getting a broken vertebrae, having to be administered oxygen and if that's not enough, slipping into a coma but still not getting a penalty award.
One of the most disgraceful fouls to have gone unreprimanded, this ‘tackle’ from Germany’s ’82 goalkeeper Harald ‘Toni’ Schumacher in the World Cup semi-final was horrifically dangerous and intentional, and resulted in France’s Patrick Battiston being stretchered off the pitch unconscious. He later slipped into a coma before recovering.
Schumacher, who had jumped into the player and smashed his hip into Battinson’s face, stood unmoved while the player lay flattened on the turf.
That the referee did not award a penalty for that was absurd and perhaps one of the most controversial decisions ever.
Manchester City vs Manchester United, 1996
Commentator Clive Tyldesley can’t contain his surprise at this decision by referee Alan Wilkie in the 1996 FA Cup quarter-final. You could watch this clip over and over again searching for a foul, but it would be a bit like searching for a non-existent needle in a haystack.
Apparently, Michael Frontzeck is holding Eric Cantona, but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence for this.
All we can see is Ryan Giggs’ corner flying over the box, and Roy Keane’s awful mane. Cantona hammered the penalty home to take the lead just before half-time.
City’s manager Alan Ball said: “It changed the game. We had the tie taken away from us by a bizarre decision. Nobody in the crowd could believe it. There was confusion on every player’s face.” Even Lee Sharpe admitted: “if it had happened to us, we’d have felt a little hard done by”.
Liverpool v Arsenal, 1997
Robbie Fowler won a UEFA Fair Play award after trying to convince referee Gerald Ashby that David Seaman had not touched him when a penalty was awarded at Highbury.
Fowler went down as Seaman rushed out but immediately insisted there was no contact between the pair.
Ashby stuck to his decision and Seaman saved Fowler's spot kick – only for Jason McAteer to score the rebound as Liverpool won 2-1.
Sheffield v Leeds, 1992
In the era before diving became commonplace, Sheffield Wednesday's Gordon Watson could lay claim to one of the worst.
At Hillsborough against rivals Leeds, the striker launched himself into the air a couple of paces after United defender Chris Whyte had stretched to prod the ball away.
John Lukic turned John Sheridan's penalty onto the post, only for the winger to stab in the rebound but Leeds overcame the sense of injustice by winning 6-1.
Chelsea vs West Brom, 2013
West Brom were all set for a historic win over Chelsea before Ramires dived his way to a draw at Stamford Bridge, deep into injury-time. This was a dive that was so obvious on television replay that it prompted an apology from referees’ chief, Mike Riley (though it was Andre Marriner who had awarded the spot-kick). Ostensibly, Ramires collided with Steven Reid, but it is clear that no contact between the players is made.
Eden Hazard converted the subsequent penalty to level the score at 2–2. After Riley’s apology, West Brom boss Steve Clarke said: “It doesn’t get us any more points but it’s nice of Mike to phone. If he’s apologising, he obviously feels it was the wrong decision.”
Holland v Mexico, 2014
Holland were 1-0 down with two minutes left and on the verge of going out of the World Cup in Brazil.
Wesley Sneijder had levelled with two minutes left before Robben earned a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Raphael Marquez stretched for the ball but Robben kicked the back of his own left leg while initiating contact with Marquez allowing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to score and send Holland into the quarter finals.
Manchester United vs Real Sociedad, 2013
No list of bad penalty decisions would be complete without including the alleged serial-diver Ashley Young.
The Manchester United player has developed a reputation for his in-the-box theatrics, conning referees into giving penalties for non-existent fouls. This is one of the worst examples, in a Champions League group game against Real Sociedad, to win a penalty (which Robin van Persie struck against the post).
Roy Keane criticised Young for manipulating referee Nicola Rizzoli, saying: “He has obviously gone down too much over the last few months. He’s conned the referee there.”
The then Manchester United boss David Moyes, however, defended Young insisting he was “tugged in the box”.
Nigeria vs Argentina, 2011
Here’s a penalty given for a handball, which is actually quite clearly controlled on the knee. Or maybe the crotch. But definitely not the hand.
The referee, Ibrahim Chaibou, who is standing less than ten metres away, blows for the foul and the Nigerians can’t believe it. However, the decision came in the 98th minute when the Nigerians led 4–0, so all in all, it doesn’t really make too much difference. Or maybe it did, given that there was a Fifa investigation into suspicious betting patterns during the friendly.
This penalty decision and the eight minutes of added time fuelled the concerns, although there have been no formal charges or sanctions levelled against Chaibou, who denies any connection to match-fixing.
Liverpool vs Arsenal, 2014
At the press conference after Arsenal’s defeat of Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, Rodgers was left “fuming” after a “blatant” foul on Luis Suárez by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went unpunished.
Certainly, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s challenge looked to be a foul as he barged Suárez off the ball.
Northern Ireland v Switzerland, 2017
Northern Ireland's hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup suffered a damaging blow when they lost 1-0 at home to Switzerland in the first-leg of their play-off.
But it was the nature of the defeat which angered the hosts after referee Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan awarded a penalty against Corry Evans.
The official gave the spot kick for handball but replays showed Xherdan Shaqiri's volley struck Evans on the back. Northern Ireland's protests did not stop AC Milan defender Ricardo Rodriguez scoring from 12 yards.