Belfast Telegraph

Bruce calls for video help

Steve Bruce pleaded for the introduction of video technology after seeing Sunderland's hopes of defeating Liverpool ruined by a controversial penalty decision.

The Black Cats fell behind 12 minutes before the break when Dirk Kuyt beat goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from 12 yards, but assistant referee Billy Smallwood found himself in the firing line after advising referee Kevin Friend to award the spot-kick. John Mensah tripped Jay Spearing as he raced towards the penalty area, but replays suggested he had made contact outside the box.

Bruce, who spoke to Mr Friend after the final whistle, said: "What I have just said to him is, 'You were correct, you were 10 yards away, you even stood exactly where the free-kick should have been where the marks on the grass were'. He did everything perfectly well, and unfortunately then listened to his assistant, who was 80 yards away."

The Sunderland boss added: "Now I don't mind if the assistant was right, but I don't think he should be involved in a decision when he is 80 yards away.

"If he had been on our side of the pitch and 20 yards away, then I could understand it, not from where he is because unfortunately for us, he has made a blatant error.

"I knew and [fourth official] Martin Atkinson knew within five seconds that it was outside the box with the technology we have got.

"Surely it has got to be time for those sort of things to be brought into play with all the technology we have got today."

Luis Suarez wrapped up Liverpool's victory 13 minutes from time with an audacious shot from a tight angle, but the pain did not end there for the Black Cats when Mensah, who had been booked for the challenge which led to the penalty, was shown a straight red card for an 81st-minute professional foul on Suarez.

Bruce said: "I have asked the referee to look to see if he was denying a goalscoring opportunity because I don't think Suarez had control of the ball.

"Would he have got to the ball first? It's debatable. It certainly was a free-kick and certainly could have been a yellow card, but I don't think it is a straight red."

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