Kalajdzic controversy: "Almost ripped his head off"

Kalajdzic controversy: "Almost ripped his head off"

Three points, no goal conceded – André Onana celebrated a perfect competitive debut in Manchester United’s goal. But it was not far off and the new goalkeeper would have been the main culprit for a false start for the Red Devils.

In the home game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening, the eighth minute of injury time was already running when Onana misjudged a cross. Instead of fisting the ball from the six-yard box, he rudely cleared Wolves joker Sasa Kalajdzic. A clear penalty, right?

Not for referee Simon Hooper and VAR Michael Salisbury. Although both made contact, the brief check did not lead to a subsequent whistle or even an on-field review, but only to a yellow card for Wolves coach Gary O’Neil, who had complained on the sidelines .

“I was told it wasn’t a clear and obvious mistake,” O’Neil shook his head in disbelief after the game, which Wolves unfortunately lost 1-0. “It looked like the goalkeeper almost ripped our centre-forward’s head off. If you grab the ball and hit the player that hard, that’s a penalty.”

The referee bosses immediately apologize to the Wolves

Even Jon Moss, general manager of referees’ association PGMOL, thought so, O’Neil reported. “I spoke to him and he fairly apologized and said it was a clear penalty and that it should have been awarded,” said the 40-year-old, who took over as Wolves coach from Julen Lopetegui just a few days ago had taken over. “That probably made me feel even worse. When you know you were right about something, it makes you feel even worse when you come up empty-handed after a game.”

PGMOL boss Howard Webb is also said to have apologized to those responsible for the guests, who have little of it. O’Neil, then coach of AFC Bournemouth, had felt disadvantaged time and time again last season, often rightly so. And the fact that Salisbury was involved as VAR on Monday is also piquant: the referee had to sit out once in April because he had not intervened as VAR when Brighton should have been awarded a penalty against Tottenham.

The late equalizer “would have been the least we deserved,” O’Neil lamented. And the wrong decision was also bitter for Kalajdzic: In his first Premier League appearance for almost a year, the ex-Stuttgarter, who tore his cruciate ligament for the second time shortly after his move last summer, almost got an “Assist ” reported back. After all: The 26-year-old Austrian was able to continue playing after Onana’s mistake.


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