Belfast Telegraph

Not a penalty in a million years: Michael Owen slams late VAR decision as Manchester United seal stunning win over PSG

Thiago Silva remonstrates with the referee after the penalty is awarded to Manchester United.
Thiago Silva remonstrates with the referee after the penalty is awarded to Manchester United.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

The panel of former Manchester United players in the BT Sport studio didn't agree with former Premier League referee Peter Walton over the decision to award a late penalty in the side's thrilling Champions League win.

United edged out PSG on away goals after a 3-1 win in France thanks to an injury-time penalty blasted home by Marcus Rashford.

PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe, turning his back, was adjudged to have handled a Diogo Dalot shot as it struck him in the box and, having consulted with the Video Assistant Referee, Damir Skomina pointed to the spot.

While Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves were in agreement that the decision was wrong, theirs was a view differing to that of former Premier League referee Peter Walton.

"With a neutral head on it's not a penalty in a million years. The arm isn't in an unnatural position. It's not a penalty for me," said former striker Owen.

Walton, however, explained that under current rules, he believes the referee made the correct decision.

"We called it straight away," he said. "We watched it. The way he's gone up - he's left his arm up and turned his back. This is exactly why VAR has been brought into operation.

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"For me, that's a handball. He hasn't tried to get his arm out of the way. He's turned his back and hasn't taken responsibility for his arm. That's a penalty kick.

"As the law is written at the moment, that's handball."

Hargreaves, in reply, indicated that it was unfair on the defender.

"I think you'll struggle to find someone who has played football who think that's a penalty," he said. "Every football player will say that's not a penalty. Maybe the law's wrong. What do you do with your arms?"

Michael Owen added: "What we're finding now is virtually every ex footballer thinks it's not (a penalty) but every referee seems to think it is. There's just a huge disconnect in how we're viewing the game and that's the worrying thing."

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