Former PL referee on why controversial Bruno Fernandes incident vs West Brom ‘wasn’t a penalty’

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on November 07, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Carl Recine - Pool/Getty Images)

One-time Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has moved to back David Coote, on the back of the official’s heavily criticised decision to overturn a penalty awarded to West Brom versus Manchester United at the weekend.

United scrape by

The Red Devils welcomed Slaven Bilic’s men to Old Trafford on Saturday, for a Premier League clash.

United headed into proceedings aiming to build on a much-needed 3-point haul in their final outing prior to the international break, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s outfit downed Everton by 3 goals to 1.

And, when all was said and done in Manchester, the Reds went on to make it 2 wins from 2.

The game’s solitary goal came 10 minutes into the 2nd-half, from the penalty spot.

After seeing his initial effort kept out by Baggies shot-stopper Sam Johnstone, Bruno Fernandes was handed a 2nd chance from the spot, on the back of a VAR check.

And the Portuguese international made no mistake the 2nd time round, smashing home to secure all 3 points for United.

VAR steps in once more

Whilst it was Fernandes’ efforts in one box which eventually decided things in the favour of the hosts, however, his actions in the other actually proved the main talking point following the final whistle at Old Trafford.

Less than a minute after the interval on Saturday, David Coote’s whistle blew, after Fernandes was adjudged to have fouled Conor Gallagher just inside the United penalty area.

Subsequent replays appeared to suggest that the decision was the correct one, with the Portuguese having made clear contact with the shin of Gallagher.

Former PL referee on why controversial Bruno Fernandes incident vs West Brom ‘wasn’t a penalty’

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (4R) appeals to referee David Coote after a penalty was awarded (and then ruled out by VAR) for a foul on West Bromwich Albion’s English midfielder Conor Gallagher during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on November 21, 2020. (Photo by Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP)

As such, it came as something of a surprise when the man in charge was called over to take a 2nd look on the VAR monitor.

And, following a lengthy check, to the bemusement of many of those watching on, referee Coote eventually came to the decision that his initial penalty call was incorrect.

In turn, the spot-kick was overturned, with West Brom’s chance to take the lead having gone up in smoke with it.

‘Gets the ball’

As outlined above, though, one individual who is certainly of the opinion that the correct decision, when all was said and done, was in fact made in overturning the Baggies’ penalty, is Dermot Gallagher.

Speaking to Sky Sports News on the back of the latest round of Premier League action, former English top-flight referee Gallagher backed the man in charge at Old Trafford on Saturday, explaining:

‘I don’t think it was a penalty. Fernandes gets the ball. There is contact, there’s no doubt, but l don’t think there’s contact that would put Conor Gallagher down like that.’

Gallagher continued:

‘As regards clear and obvious, if the referee on VAR doesn’t think it is a penalty, it’s clear and obvious to him, then that’s the difficulty in defining it as clear and obvious. I think it’s very difficult to say to a guy ‘yes, give a penalty’ when you are convinced it’s not.’

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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